California budget negotiations enter the home stretch Thursday as Gov. Gavin Newsom releases his updated spending plan, known as the “May Revise.”
And although the state is flush with cash, Newsom is trying to lower expectations after unveiling a “have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too” budget days after his January inauguration that pegged California’s surplus at $21 billion.
He told reporters last week that even though revenues are coming in strong, some expenses are higher than projected. “That will also offset, I hope, overly exuberant legislators that may see this as too good news, when in fact, it’s modestly good news,” Newsom said.
The governor’s words brought to mind those of his predecessor.
“What’s out there is darkness, uncertainty, decline and recession. So, good luck, baby!” former Gov. Jerry Brown said as he released his final budget in January 2018, warning that California’s next governor would inherit a state on a fiscal cliff.
“Jerry may have said it a little too early, that the skies are getting darker on the horizon,” Newsom said when reminded of Brown’s warning. “But I would be remiss if I didn’t say the skies ARE darkening on the horizon, and we’d better prepare for that rainy day.”
But the economy’s still strong. Newsom is working toward costly new programs like universal health care and full-day kindergarten, which he’ll likely update on Thursday. And the governor already announced earlier this week that his revised budget will expand child care funding and propose sales tax exemptions for diapers and tampons.