(CN) — California State Legislature passed a record $ 267 billion budget on Monday. This boosts spending on programs aimed at combating climate change, preventing wildfires, building affordable homes, and stimulating the economy by paying taxpayers directly.
“This is the budget we believe we look back on very proudly,” said Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who chairs the Parliamentary Budget Committee. “It’s an opportunity to invest in our state, not just next year, but really for the next 50 years.”
Although the price tag matches one Suggestion According to Newsome in May, a legislative bill requires more spending on certain programs, including wildfire response and prevention. Lawmakers have raised their spending on wildfires to $ 1 billion. This is an increase of $ 292 million from Newsom’s proposal.
The legislative package will also boost climate investment to $ 3.7 billion. That’s $ 2.4 billion more than Newsom envisioned in his budget plan.
In a statement on Monday, the governor said he was determined to sign a contract with a member of parliament. Newsam said he hopes the state’s economy will “surge” after a 15-month pandemic shuts down businesses and leaves millions of Californians unemployed. But he also emphasized the need to maintain a strong financial base and “prepare for the unexpected.”
“We are grateful for the state legislature partnership and are confident that we will reach a budget agreement that reflects our common values and keeps California on a sustainable path for recovery and growth,” said Newsom. “I look forward to working with legislative leaders to reach an agreement to address California’s long-standing challenge of giving all California families the opportunity to prosper, regardless of race or zip code. I will. “
The budget approved by lawmakers on Monday represents an increase of $ 65 billion from $ 202 billion in the previous fiscal year. Expenditure plan.. The increase in funding was made possible by an unexpected $ 76 billion surplus and $ 26 billion in federal Covid-19 aid.
To address the state’s unmanageable homelessness problem, lawmakers plan new spending on a $ 8.5 billion homeless program, including $ 1 billion “flexible” spending on local governments to tackle the crisis. doing.
State legislators also included an additional $ 1.3 billion in their budget to make Medi-Cal, a state-funded health insurance program, available to all Californians over the age of 50, regardless of immigration status. I did.
The financial blueprint also provides a $ 8.1 billion stimulus check for Californians under $ 75,000 a year. Direct payments range from $ 500 to $ 1,100, respectively, depending on income and filing status.
“I think this is a budget that really helps Californians who have been heavily affected by this pandemic,” said Nancy Skinner, Senator of the East Bay Democratic Party, who chairs the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Board.
The California State Legislature approved the historic spending plan with a 57-15 vote. The California Senate passed it with 30-8 votes. Some of the few Republicans said they didn’t have details about how the money would be spent and either canceled the tax increase from last year’s state rainy day fund or failed to fully replenish the dollar. Criticized the budget.
Bakersfield Republican Vince Fong said on the parliamentary floor that “it could have been fooled.” “This budget is big, but there are serious concerns that it is unsustainable. Before spending billions of dollars of valuable taxes on more new programs and broken systems without structural reforms. , We need to focus on the basics and the outcome of demand. “
Republican Senator Melissa Melendez of Riverside County asks if the planned gasoline tax hike to maintain roads needs to be pushed forward when gas exceeds $ 4 per gallon in California. did. She claimed that the gasoline tax approved by the 2017 voting bill had already raised $ 50 billion, well above the $ 5 billion designed to generate it. She also attacked what she characterized as failing to deal with the state’s poor job development department, which paid fraudsters over $ 10 billion in fraudulent unemployment insurance.
“How can this budget fix the billion-dollar scams that were allowed to fall into the hands of prisoners and scammers on behalf of the unemployed Californians who actually need help?” Menendez said. Said.
California and Legislature Democratic leaders portrayed budget approval from a different perspective. In a joint statement, San Diego Democratic President pro tempore Tony G. Atkins and Lakewood Democrat Anthony Lendon said budget stimulus, small business assistance, childcare, housing and wildfire investment. Climate change prevention and coping that advertised to include.
“The governor proposed a strong budget in the May revision, and we are proud of the improved version approved by Congress today,” said two Democratic leaders. “We look forward to working with the Governor to finalize our budget in the next few days to build a bigger tomorrow in California.”
The Governor must sign or change the $ 267 billion spending plan by July 1.
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