Capitol Update: 2022 Budget

Yesterday, the governor released his proposed $286 billion budget spending plan for this year. That is $23.9 billion more than last year.

This “blueprint” includes:

  • An additional $2.7 billion for various state COVID-19 response efforts
  • $1.2 billion over two years for forest health and fire prevention 
  • $750 million for immediate drought response
  • $1.5 billion over two years for affordable housing development
  • $2 billion over two years for investments to address homelessness
  • $285 million over three years for grants to bolster local law enforcement responses to organized retail theft
  • $119 billion for Proposition 98 for schools/community colleges
  • $3.4 billion increase for after school and summer programs for school districts and charter schools serving English learner and low-income students in grades TK-6
  • $3 billion over the next two years to reduce the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund debt owed to the federal government
  • $150 million for approx. 150,000 waitlisted businesses with the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant Program
  • $350 million for new multi-year tax credits to California businesses that embrace green energy technologies and encourage climate change mitigation strategies
  • $9.1 billion for various transportation infrastructure projects, including $4.2 billion of Proposition 1A (high-speed rail) bond funds
  • $819.3 million in 2023-24 (and $2.7 billion annually) to make California the first state in the nation to offer universal access to healthcare coverage for all residents, regardless of immigration status

To read the Governor’s complete proposed budget click HERE

While some of these proposals have worthy goals, it is important to remember that more spending does not equal success.

Every year the state throws more money at problems, many of which the government has created itself through mismanagement, and every year the endless list of crises grow: increases in homelessness and crime, a never-ending wildfire season, lack of water storage, small businesses stressed to the brink, and a lack of quality education and mental health services for our children.

People are rightfully frustrated and deserve a government that is more responsive, efficient, and competent – not just larger.

Things to consider:

  • Since the gas tax increased in 2017, California has collected more than $16 billion in additional revenue, but our roads have gone from 9th worst in the country to the 6th worst.
  • Simply putting a roof over someone’s head will not address the underlying issues that cause them to become homeless. We have to do more to improve mental health treatment.
  • Subsidizing affordable housing is a feel-good measure that won’t help middle-class Californians who make too much to be eligible for subsidized housing but can’t come close to affording a market-priced home.
  • $285 million to work on retail theft won’t make a dent in the problem without more serious consequences for those who break the law. My colleagues and I have introduced proposals to repeal Prop. 47 and make reforms to impose stiffer sentences for serial shoplifters.
  • One-time grants, waived fees, and temporary tax breaks for small businesses are minor fixes, but it would be better to reduce California’s highest-in-the-nation tax burden and provide regulatory relief.

State programs must be examined by real-world outcomes, not how much funding they have. Accountability is key.

Additionally, California will have another record-breaking surplus of $45.7 billion this year.
Remember where this money comes from – you, the taxpayer.

When constructing the budget, the question here should not be “How do we spend the surplus?” but rather “How can we accomplish our goals while taking less from taxpayers.”
Tax revenues are higher than expected, with two straight years of "historic" budget surpluses, yet more tax increases are being proposed, and inefficient programs are being expanded.  This budget needs tax rebates.

Overtaxed Californians should keep more of their hard-earned money. They know how to spend it better than the government.
This January budget proposal is an initial draft followed by a May revision proposal and months of budget debates before the budget is finalized in June. I look forward to the upcoming discussions.

It is a privilege to serve you and our 67th District. Thank you.