Democrat California Gov. Gavin Newsom recently announced his plans to cut down billions of dollars in investments initially earmarked for climate change programs and stall other funding for major programs due to the state’s $22.5 billion budget deficit.
The global economic recession affecting nations hasn’t spared California. Newsom revealed the state’s $297 billion budget plan for the 2023-24 fiscal year. The Democrat governor hinted that he is carefully preserving California’s reserves, warning against a more severe nationwide recession.
"This is no time to be walking back investments in a climate-safe future."
— The Climate Center (@climatecampaign) January 11, 2023
Newsom has said the uncertainty of the coming year makes it mandatory to tread with caution. As a result, he wouldn’t touch the reserves and Californians would have to wait and see what happens. This development comes as a surprise, given Newsom’s initial climate proposal.
“Cleaning the air we breathe. Protecting our communities from the harmful impacts of the oil industry. Accelerating California’s clean energy future. Each of these actions … are monumental steps to tackling the climate crisis – but California isn’t waiting a minute longer to get them done.” Newsom said in August 2022.
The governor said his administration is taking these major actions now in the most aggressive push on climate this state has ever seen because later is too late.
The slashed budget has mainly affected the climate and pulled over $6 billion from programs designed to boost zero-emission vehicles in low-income neighborhoods. The plans to replace greenhouse gas-powered vehicles like delivery trucks, trains, airplanes and others have also taken a hit.
Republicans in the state are not impressed by Newsom’s elementary economics, referencing persisting issues like wildfires and homelessness still affecting the state despite record spending.
“Now with a massive budget shortfall projected, it’s time for Gavin Newsom to finally get serious about smarter spending to resolve the many issues that are plaguing our state and driving long-time residents away,” party Chairwoman Jessica Millan Patterson said in a statement.
Reports suggest that the governor has also planned to stall the spending of billions of dollars on public universities. Other areas that may be affected by the budget deficit include behavioral health, building decarbonization, and watersheds.