Conservatives balk at ballooning budget

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Conservatives balk at ballooning budgetWhen Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his revised state budget on Thursday, conservative leaders balked at the increase in spending and continued tax hikes as bipartisan officials warn of “taxpayer fatigue.”

In January, the newly elected governor proposed a $209 billion budget proposal. As revenues continue to outperform projections, Newsom increased the budget to $214 billion — making promises to guard against uncertain economic headwinds by investing record amounts in the state’s “rainy day” reserves and paying down unfunded retirement liabilities.

Newsom said that his “California for All” package fortifies California’s fiscal positing by making investments he believes will be beneficial to families.

However, locally elected officials have expressed doubt about whether increasing subsidies will address the risings costs across the state.

“California families are taxed too much,” said State Sen. Republican Leader Shannon Grove. “Yet, this updated budget proposal wants to tax them an additional $2.4 billion.

“Senate Republicans are fighting to make California a better place to live and prioritize the needs of hardworking Californians.”

“In the last decade, California’s state budget has more than doubled,” noted Assemblyman Vince Fong. “In return, taxpayers received more inefficient state bureaucracy, crumbling roads, egregious traffic congestion, housing affordability crisis, rampant homelessness and the highest poverty rate in the nation.”

Newsom’s plan to address housing includes a $650 million provision for homelessness emergency aid, $40 million to provide housing for students in the state’s college and university systems, $1.75 billion to increase housing production and some $500 million to address obstacles in building mixed-income housing.

However, contractors note that the state’s regulatory environment has exponentially increased the costs of building homes — even though most of the additional costs and requirements add no value or protections to the homeowners.

Fong has also been at the forefront of battles with state legislators who have been pushing increasing costs of transportation-related costs despite reduced levels of service.

“Even with a budget surplus, the governor has the audacity to propose even more taxes instead of returning it to hardworking Californians who earned it. Californians are rightfully fed up with the insane cost of living and working in this state,” said Fong.

“We need a different approach with a budget that prioritizes California taxpayers.”

Grove did, however, praise Newsom for at least one new provision in the budget proposal.

“I am grateful to see that more attention is being focused on the developmentally disabled community,” she said.

“Republicans asked for an 8 percent across-the-board rate increase for service-providers who take care of our most vulnerable members of society. This budget allocates $330 million in funding for this community — and that should be just the beginning.”

A complete copy of both the January proposal and May revise of the state budget are available online at ebudget.ca.gov.

Pictured: State Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove

Story First Published: 2019-05-10