Governor Gavin Newsom's California budget proposal for the next fiscal year includes health care for 27,000 older low-income illegal immigrants. The Democratic governor says the immigrants would have to be Medicaid-eligible to get the money.
Newsom is also proposing to provide $20,000 stipends for teachers who teach at underperforming schools in low-income areas for four years. That proposal would take up $100 million of the state's budget.
"Despite the progress we’ve made, there are deep, structural challenges that threaten our state’s future and demand our urgent attention. These problems — our widespread affordability crisis, expanding homelessness crisis and catastrophic wildfires — have been decades in the making and won’t be fixed overnight," Newsom said.
Newsom claims the state has a $5.6 billion surplus and his spending proposal includes $21 billion in the rainy day fund for a possible economic downturn.
Reaction from state lawmakers to the budget proposal has been mixed.
California Senate President Toni Atkins, who is a Democrat from San Diego, said, "(there is) a lot to like in Governor Newsom’s initial budget proposal, including the fact it reflects how a strong economy and progressive policies can go hand in hand."
Atkins points to what she sees as record funding for education, solid reserves, relief for small businesses, and innovative ideas on climate change, public safety, and health care as strong points in the budget.
Meanwhile, Republican Assemblyman James Gallagher from Yuba City said, "I am pleased that the Governor has placed an emphasis on issues of emergency preparedness in his budget. Vegetation management and home hardening are key to making us more resilient to wildfires, and I am glad to see investment in these areas."
However, Gallagher is critical of what he considers to be a lack of policy changes at the state level to streamline those processes and ensure investments are targeted, including expedited environmental review for projects that reduce fire risk.
Newsom also wants legislators to agree to $1 billion in spending over four years to prevent, track, and battle future wildfires. The money would add more than 670 new firefighters to Cal Fire and invest $100 million on a pilot program meant to protect homes and other structures most at risk during wildfires.
He is also proposing $1 billion to combat the state's growing homeless problem, and he wants to create an advisory committee to come up with recommendations for dealing with student loan debt in the California.