California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday submitted his budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year to the California Legislature, a $227.2 billion package that prioritizes vaccines for all Californians, and gives $90 billion to K-14 education.
Newsom says that the state now has a $15 billion budget surplus.
With a sharp focus on helping Californians weather the Covid-19 pandemic, the budget provides $372 million to help speed up vaccine distribution and administration. It also includes $14 billion to help Californians who have lost their jobs or businesses or are facing eviction.
It additionally provides $1.1 billion in immediate relief for small businesses. This includes a $600 one-time payment to low-income people, through the so-called “Golden State Stimulus.”
“Our budget, understandably, represents and reflects the realities of this recession, and the realities of this pandemic-induced reality,” Newsom said at a press conference Friday.
The budget also offers $90 billion for K-14 schools, which Newsom says is the largest amount for education in the state’s history. Of that, $400 million is for school-based mental health services, and $4.6 billion is earmarked to help schools reopen by mid-February. Newsom in December announced a $2 billion package created to prepare classrooms to safely hold students.
Special education is slated to receive $545 million in ongoing funding, and $300 million for additional special education for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
The budget provides $786 million for the UC and CSU systems.
“In these darkest moments of the Covid-19 pandemic, this budget will help Californians with urgent action to address our immediate challenges and build towards our recovery,” Newsom stated in a press release. “As always, our budget is built on our core California values of inclusion, economic growth and a brighter future for all.”
Pajaro Valley Unified School District spokeswoman Alicia Jimenez said that it is too early to say how the budget will impact the district.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond praised the budget for its focus on helping schools recover from the effects of the pandemic.
“The investments we choose must help our schools urgently and immediately recover from this crisis and accelerate learning for the students and families hardest hit by a global pandemic that has deepened historic inequities,” Thurmond stated in a press release. “Our priorities should not only help our schools emerge safely from the impacts of Covid-19, but should immediately double down on our efforts to level the playing field for a generation of students.”
Other budget proposals:
- $777.5 million for the California Jobs Initiative, which focuses on job creation and retention, regional development, small businesses and climate innovation
- $353 million to support California’s workers as they adapt to changes in the economy brought about by Covid-19
- $385 million for the agricultural industry
- $300 million one-time General Fund for toxic site cleanup
- $1.5 billion to achieve the state’s zero-emission vehicle goals by 2035 and 2045
- $1 billion to fund the infrastructure needed to support zero-emission vehicles
- $17.3 million for earthquake early warning
- $143 million General Fund to support 30 new fire crews, and $48 million to continue phasing in Black Hawk helicopters and large air tankers
- $353 million investment in workforce development