California Gov. Gavin Newsom will propose his first-ever state budget on Thursday, just three days after being sworn in and as the state continues to be awash in black ink.
And Newsom hinted on Tuesday that there might be even more money available.
“I’m about to announce an interesting surplus — that will be a little more interesting than the one you’ve been reading about or writing about,” he told reporters after announcing new wildfire prevention efforts in Colfax on Tuesday.
Here’s what we know so far about Newsom’s state budget proposal for the 2019-2020 fiscal year, based on the governor’s public statements, press releases and a source close to Newsom’s transition team:
- $1.8 billion for universal pre-kindergarten and other early-childhood programs, including new investments in child care and full-day kindergarten. This would be mostly, but not entirely, one-time funding.
- $140 million to expand Medi-Cal coverage to young adults, ages 19-25, living in the state illegally.
- An unknown amount of money to improve subsidies for low- and middle-income Californians on the individual market. This would be funded — at least in part — by revenues brought in through a new state individual mandate, similar to the one under the original Affordable Care Act, which President Trump and the Republican Congress repealed in 2017.
- A significant (but unknown) investment toward a major expansion of California’s paid family leave program. Newsom wants to allow new parents to take up to six months of paid time off from their jobs, up from the current six weeks. (Mothers currently also receive six weeks’ time off for disability after giving birth.)
- $40 million for a second free year of community college tuition. Former Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers invested $46 million to fund the first year of free community college tuition in last year’s state budget.
- $415 million to invest in forest management, new technology and additional equipment to help prevent and fight wildfires. Roughly half that money is forest management funding approved last year.
The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office has projected that the state’s “rainy day fund” constitutional budget reserve will reach nearly $15 billion by the end of the 2019-20 fiscal year. On top of that, the LAO believes the governor and Legislature will have an additional $15 billion to spend or save as it wishes.
Newsom will unveil his spending plan at 11 a.m. at the California Secretary of State’s auditorium in downtown Sacramento.