With a smaller budget potentially on the horizon, Newsom also emphasized he plans to invest most of California’s surplus in one-time spending, instead of ongoing expenditures the state may not be able to meet if it doesn’t maintain the same cash flow.
“This is important, and I hope folks understand why we’re doing it,” Newsom said. “I look forward to working with the Legislature and their respective staff to discuss the imperative of caution, particularly at this moment. And what more caution do we need in terms of evidence than the last two weeks, with the markets and the volatility and the bear markets that at least two of the three major indexes are currently in.”
Even so, Republican leaders weren’t convinced Newsom’s budget represents the best plan for California.
“With a $300 billion dollar budget, the fiscal cliff is coming, and Democrats are oblivious and arrogant, the California Republican Party said in a statement. “Thanks to radical regressive policies, Californians today pay more for nearly everything they buy, while rising homelessness, failing schools, raging wildfires and a devastating drought continue to get worse.”
“Democrats have taxed their way to a mind-boggling $97.5 billion dollar surplus, and today’s May Revise budget reveals that Gavin Newsom continues to believe in more spending instead of real solutions,” the GOP continued. “Newsom and the Democrats personify the definition of insanity — they keep making the same mistakes and expecting different results. We’re confident that voters this November won’t follow suit.”
Newsom’s original budget prioritized homeless aid, COVID-19 response and transportation, as well as funding to combat climate change, wildfires and drought.
The revised plan adds money to provide tax refunds for all California vehicle owners. Newsom plans to spend $11.5 billion to give drivers $400 per vehicle — capped at $800 — to help cope with high gasoline prices and inflation.
Last year, by contrast, the state sent $600 stimulus checks to most taxpayers regardless of whether they owned cars.
Legislative leaders have not been supportive of this approach, saying it won’t help needy Californians who aren’t vehicle owners.
“Senate Democrats do not believe a rebate tied to car ownership does the job,” said Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, in a statement on Thursday. “That plan leaves out non-car owners — including low income and elderly Californians, who are also impacted by the current high costs of consumer goods and are also deserving of relief.”