At the beginning of the year, California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a sprawling $222 billion spending plan — a record — vowing to use the state’s strong economy to address a litany of issues, including a homelessness crisis, climate change and education.
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“I’m very proud to be a Californian. I’m proud of this state,” Newsom said during a press conference last week. “But I am not naive about the areas where we’re falling short.”
The proposal, which comes in the midst of the state’s record-long economic expansion, represents the biggest state budget in California history.
Here’s a closer look at some of the biggest expenditures included in the spending proposal:
Housing and homelessness: Newsom directed a one-time allocation of $750 million to create the California Access to Housing and Services Fund, which is designed to reduce homelessness by moving people into stable housing and by increasing the number of affordable units for people and families potentially at risk of losing their home.
The budget also included $6.8 billion for programs to address the state’s housing concerns.
Health care and human services: A little over $80 million in Medi-Cal funding will go toward expanding the program to about 27,000 undocumented people over the age of 65 beginning in 2021. It also allocates $695 million toward the Medi-Cal Healthier California for All Initiative. The budget also includes $1.1 billion for minimum wage increases (at the beginning of the year, it rose to $13 per hour and will climb to $14 per hour on Jan. 1, 2021).
Education: About $900 million will go toward addressing the state’s teacher shortage and improving teacher training, focusing on schools in high-poverty districts and special education. It also included a $100 million proposal for $20,000 awards for teachers who work four years in high-need schools teaching high-need subjects.
Environment: More than $12 billion in the budget focuses on climate change over the next five years, including $4.75 billion directed toward a climate resilience board. Other areas of the climate budget include the transition to a carbon-neutral economy and a new fund to promote the creation of new technologies, especially by small businesses and emerging industries.
Criminal justice: More than $552 million would be spent on rehabilitation and re-entry programs for inmates, with $16.3 million going to establish campus-style environments at facilities housing offenders under the age of 26. It also includes investing in technology for inmates participating in academic programs and expanding access to higher ed programming via a partnership with the California State University system.