Governor Gavin Newsom today unveiled his 2022-23 state budget proposal – the California Blueprint, a bold plan building on the state’s ongoing work to confront California’s greatest existential threats, bolster our strong economic growth and make historic investments in California’s future. The Blueprint proposes billions more to support the state’s robust response to COVID-19 and nation-leading efforts to fight climate change – including worsening wildfires and drought, tackle persistent inequality and homelessness and keep our streets safe.
As the state’s economy drives a still-recovering nation, the California Blueprint provides a model for the entire country of how we can continue providing short-term relief while investing in longer-term solutions that will benefit workers, businesses and families for years to come. The Governor’s plan builds on last year’s California Comeback Plan – the largest recovery package in the nation.
“With major new investments to tackle the greatest threats to our state’s future, the California Blueprint lights the path forward to continue the historic progress we’ve made on our short-term and long-term challenges, including responding to the evolving pandemic, fighting the climate crisis, taking on persistent inequality and homelessness, keeping our streets safe and more,” said Governor Newsom. “As California’s robust recovery continues, we’re doubling down on our work to ensure all our communities can thrive.”
With a $45.7 billion surplus, the California Blueprint is built on a strong fiscal foundation that includes $34.6 billion in reserves and continues to pay down long-term retirement debts. It also appropriately prioritizes one-time spending over ongoing, allocating 86 percent of discretionary general funds to one-time spending.
Combating the Climate Crisis
California continues to face extreme weather conditions amid a changing climate. Governor Newsom’s plan tackles the increasing threat of climate change including by:
Fighting Wildfires: The Blueprint provides $648 million to support firefighters, and more helicopters and dozers, along with an additional $1.2 billion – building on last year’s $1.5 billion investment – to step-up forest management and other practices that save lives.
Tackling the Drought: On top of last year’s $5.2 billion water package, the Blueprint makes an additional $750 million investment for immediate drought response to aid residents, farmers, and wildlife as California continues to grapple with a historic drought.
Forging an Oil-Free Future: The plan will decrease California’s reliance on fossil fuels while preparing our economy and workforce for a clean energy future. California will write the playbook for how America confronts the impacts of climate change – investing billions in climate tech research & development, clean cars, preparing Californians for career opportunities, and further readying our infrastructure to withstand extreme weather.
Building on last year’s historic $15 billion in climate investments, the Budget integrates climate, equity, and economic opportunity across the state’s budget—including housing, health, and education—to mobilize a coordinated state response to the climate crisis.
Wildfires: California experienced 4 of the 20 largest wildfires in its history in 2021. Last year, the state expanded firefighting capacity and invested $1.5 billion to significantly increase the state’s ability to prevent wildfires. The Budget proposes an additional $1.2 billion over two years to continue investments in forest health and fire prevention, including a major new reforestation effort. The Budget also makes a major investment to expand firefighting efforts, including new dedicated aircraft and hand crews, as well as $400 million to address the effects of the recent prolonged wildfire seasons on CAL FIRE firefighters.
Drought: Despite recent rain, dry conditions may extend to a third consecutive year, requiring the state to prioritize State Water Project allocations for health and safety needs and to maintain salinity control in the Bay-Delta to protect endangered species. Building upon last year’s three-year, $5.2 billion allocation to support drought response and long-term water sustainability, the Budget includes an additional $750 million General Fund to address immediate drought response needs, including $250 million set aside as a contingency. These investments will expand support for critical drinking water emergencies and mitigate drought damage to fish and wildlife, and the investments will also support small farmers and ranchers and water systems facing a loss of water supply.
The details of the wildfire and drought spending is included in the “Climate Resilience” subsection of the Climate Chapter and begins on page 99 of the Governor’s Budget Summary and is excerpted below for your convenience: