Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to use the California budget surplus to confront the crises facing the state, including homelessness, COVID-19 and climate change.
Newsom said the state budget needs to address “existential threats” such as the surging coronavirus pandemic; wildfires and drought worsened by global warming; homelessness; income inequality; and public safety.
One thing is certain: California has plenty of money. Newsom’s proposal is the first step in the complex process of allocating the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes Californians and businesses pay each year.
This year’s $3 billion budget was largely propped up by over $250 million in federal funding that was injected into the city’s coffers through the state and federal governments.
These so-called “unfunded liabilities” will have to be dealt with in the foreseeable future, but they often get punted as other priorities emerge.
Long Beach received nearly $250 million in federal aid from the Trump and Biden administrations over the past 16 months that it’s using to maintain most public services and replenish critical reserves it dipped into to fund city services in 2020, however it still faces an uphill battle in future budgets.
“We were thinking there were going to be really difficult cuts this year,” Mayor Robert Garcia said at a Friday media briefing. The passage of the federal American Recovery Act “absolutely changed everything about our budget.”