SACRAMENTO (KRON) — Pitching his first set of financial priorities, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a $144 billion budget from the general fund Thursday.
“The message we are advancing here is discipline,” said Newsom.
Newsom wants to put $13.6 billion toward paying down the state’s debt and building up its reserves and pension liability — a proposal that pleased Assembly Budget Chairman Phil Ting.
“I’m most excited about is him saving money for the future, I think it’s very important, I know it sounds like a lot of money but that money can disappear very, very quickly,” said Ting.
Education and health and human services takes up a bulk of the budget.
The governor proposes putting $80.7 million into California classrooms, which he says is the most ever. Although clapping was discouraged at the announcement, the state’s superintendent couldn’t help himself.
“This is a great start for the students of California,” said Tony Thurmond, state superintendent.
Housing and healthcare are two areas the governor anticipates controversy.
While budgeting $7.7 billion toward addressing the state’s housing crisis, the governor is also proposing pulling gas tax money from local governments that don’t meet housing production goals.
This, along with the governor’s proposal to expand state health coverage to young undocumented immigrants are concerns for some republican lawmakers.
“Many of my constituents who rely on medical are unable to see a physician because so few of the doctors in my district take that reimbursement,” said Assemblyman Jay Obernolte (R-Hisperia.) “The rates are so low, it’s just not possible for them to maintain an independent practice, until we’ve addressed the systemic problems in MediCal, its unconscionable for us to talk about expanding them.”
Lawmakers have until June 15 to agree on the spending plan.
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