Dome of the California Capitol in Sacramento
The dome of the California Capitol in Sacramento. Courtesy of the governor’s office

Gov. Gavin Newsom revised upward his proposed state budget on Thursday, citing both growing needs and a growing surplus.

The nearly $214 billion budget is some $4.5 billion more than Newsom’s original proposal. It includes new funding to expand Medi-Cal coverage to young adults aged 19 to 25, increase paid family leave, boost K-12 education funding, offer free community college tuition and address homelessness.

It also includes $15 million for security to prevent hate crimes at places of worship and other nonprofit organizations in the wake of the Poway synagogue shooting.

“The affordability crisis families face in this state is very real, and that’s why this budget tackles those challenges head-on by focusing on housing, health care, early childhood and higher education,” he said.

More spending is possible in part because of higher projected revenue. The new budget projects short-term revenues of $3.2 billion above the original budget.

But Newsom said the state must continue to prepare for a possible recession, and the bulk of the budget increase will be used to enhance the California’s fiscal position. This includes $1.4 billion more to pay down unfunded liabilities like pension commitments and $1.2 billion more for “rainy day” reserves.

“The California Dream must be built on a strong fiscal foundation,” he said. “This budget fortifies California’s fiscal position.”

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove of Bakersfield criticized the revised budget because of Newsom’s plan to require Californians to purchase health insurance and a proposed tax to fix substandard water systems.

“California families are taxed too much. Our families already face a tax on air and a gas tax that is the second highest in the nation. Yet, this updated budget proposal wants to tax them an additional $2.4 billion,” said Grove.

The new proposal will be followed by negotiations with lawmakers as the June 15 deadline for approving the state budget approaches.

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.