What Gavin Newsom’s $222 Billion Budget Says About California’s Priorities | Lost Coast OutpostJanuary 14, 2020
Stoked with liberal ideas, flush with another surplus, California in the Newsom era is getting the agenda America might have had, had America not elected President Donald Trump. As Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday unveiled his initial $222.2 billion budget proposal for next year, the priorities read like an extension of yet another Barack Obama — or maybe a first Hillary Clinton — administration: Public schools. Homelessness. Climate action. Consumer protection. School lunches. Affordable health care, even for undocumented people. Newsom even talked about maybe closing a prison soon.
Enough with the dark national stories about California being a mess, said Newsom, who started his presentation with a sunny reality check.
Pitching state legislators, who determine appropriations, the Democratic governor did some paddling to the right, as Jerry Brown would have put it: There was a tax cut idea for small business owners. And proposals to pay down debt and pension obligations and build budget reserves got positive reviews even from the handful of Republican lawmakers left in the Capitol. And he paddled to the anti-Trump left, lashing out at Trump’s California heckling: “He’s tweeting, we’re doing something,” Newsom said.
This first budget ask is just the start of a long negotiation. And a number of potentially contentious issues — tax hikes, for example — were pointedly not on it. But these presentations do serve as a guide to what matters in an administration. Here are this one’s key takeaways:
We’re over “California derangement syndrome”
Enough with the dark national stories about California being a mess, said Newsom, who started his presentation with a sunny reality check: record low unemployment of 3.9%, 117 months of consecutive job growth, an average of 3.8% economic growth over the last five years, a $19 billion rainy day fund with millions more tucked away in other pots of savings. The governor and lawmakers will be able to fund homeless, health care and education initiatives through a $5.6 billion surplus.
The governor held up the state in direct contrast to Trump, who criticizes Newsom’s response to California’s homeless crisis. Why dignify “California derangement syndrome,” as Newsom calls it, or rise to Trump’s Twitter bait?
“If I’m not willing to stand up to a bully,” Newsom said, “if I’m not willing to stand up to someone who is attacking immigrant communities and refugees and attacking people working very hard every single day to feed their families, then I don’t belong here.”
Homelessness is a defining issue