SAN FRANCISCO -- California is kicking off 2022 with a lot of cash, and on Monday Governor Newsom laid out his proposal for how he'd like to spend it.
The Governor said the state has a record-breaking $286.4 billion, including a $45.7 billion surplus. (The surplus is so large it could even trigger what's known as the "Gann Limit," which could return a portion of the money to the taxpayer.)
The budget proposal was broken down into five key areas -- the pandemic, climate change, homelessness, cost of living and public safety -- which Gov. Newsom said he sees as California's "greatest existential threats."
So, how does Gov. Newsom hope to tackle these issues? And where is the money going? Here's a quick breakdown.
And keep in mind, this is just a proposal. These plans still need to be discussed in the legislature. A revision to the budget will then be presented in May.
Universal Healthcare Coverage
A key part of Governor Newsom's proposal is to combat income inequality, and one way he plans to do that is by creating statewide universal healthcare coverage. The Governor's plan would provide healthcare coverage for all Californians regardless of age and immigration status.
"California is poised to be, if this proposal is supported, the first state in the country to achieve universal access to health coverage," Newsom said Monday.
The proposed implementation date is January 2024.
Newsom's budget proposes $2.7 billion to combat the pandemic. He said that money will go toward ramping up vaccines, boosters and statewide testing, as well as increasing medical personnel and support to be prepared for another potential surge.
The budget also includes $300 million for the Department of Public Health and local health jurisdictions, and also funding to modernize public health data systems that have been critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Delaying a Gas Tax Increase
As Californians feel the impacts of inflation, Newsom proposed what he called a "modest" holiday for the state gas tax.
"We're also going to advance a modest, I don't want to overstate this, but it's a modest $523 million gas tax holiday of sorts," Newsom said.
The plan would delay the annual increase in the tax, which is currently set for July 1, 2022.
Fighting Climate Change and Drought
Climate change is top of the Governor's agenda and a key part of the budget. In addition to last year's $5.2 billion water package, Newsom also announced a $750 million more to tackle drought. The plan would include aid to residents, farmers and wildlife throughout the drought.
The budget also includes $648 million to fight wildfires. The investments would go towards supporting firefighters, purchasing more equipment and stepping up forest management efforts.
Additionally, Newsom announced a proposal to create a "climate workforce," including retraining programs and a plan to hire people to cap the state's oil wells. He also announced a plan to replace all diesel school buses with electric ones.
"So, we're putting up $1.5 billion in this space for charging stations, electrifying that school fleet," Newsom said.
Cracking down on Crime
"We have to hold people accountable for breaking the law ins these organized ways," Newsom said Monday as he announced plans to crack down on crime.
The budget proposes spending $255 million for local law enforcement and a new "smash-and-grab" enforcement unit.
Newsom also proposed a new, statewide gun buyback program and a new plan to ensure District Attorneys are effectively prosecuting criminals. The Governor said he wants to create a new statewide team of investigators and prosecutors to go after perpetrators.
A big part of Newsom's budget is a $2 billion plan for mental health housing and services and clearing encampments.
Newsom also said part of his plan to tackle homelessness and behavioral health is to tackle conservatorship reform.
"We are leaning into conservatorships this year," Newsom said.
He said he would announce the details of the plan at a later day.
The budget also includes an additional $9.1 billion to support the continued development of the high-speed rail system and other transportation efforts.
Read the full summary budget here.