Budget Plan Meets Many County Priorities, But Misses Others
January 14, 2021
Last Friday, Governor Newsom released his 2021-22 budget proposal and urged the Legislature to take the unusual step of immediately approving an $11 billion package to address COVID-19 and jumpstart California’s recovery.
Despite large proposed investments to address homelessness, wildfires, and infrastructure, all of which counties appreciate, the budget proposal fails to provide increased funding for public health departments or for to increase access to and adoption of broadband. See full coverage in CSAC’s 29-page summary of the Governor’s plan.
Some specific proposals of interest to counties include:
- $1.75 billion for homelessness, including for Project Homekey, behavioral health continuum infrastructure, and residential care facilities.
- $1 billion for forest resilience.
- $1.1 billion for CalAIM implementation.
- $372 million placeholder for COVID-19 vaccine efforts.
- Over $250 million to begin implementing the new Master Plan for Aging.
- $500 million each for increased infill infrastructure grants and housing tax credits.
- Increased enforcement of state housing laws, including for local housing production.
These proposals represent a starting point for debate among the state’s policymakers as Governor Newsom faces the unusual budget situation of having a multi-billion dollar one-year surplus, but a an equally large structural deficit in the out-years. And though they avoid taking major actions until after the April tax returns in most years, the urgency surrounding the pandemic’s effects, both on health and on the economy, will likely spur unusually quick decision-making from lawmakers.
The Governor’s proposal for immediate action includes, among other items, $600 checks to low-income workers, an additional $575 million for small businesses, and significant funding for public school reopening and extended learning opportunities. CSAC and several county partners (UCC, RCRC, CHEAC, and HOAC) have sent the Governor and legislative leadership a letter requesting funding for urgent COVID-19 response and public health infrastructure be included in any immediate-action package.
CSAC will continue to advocate for county interests with the Administration and Legislature as the year progresses.