Today, state lawmakers will begin a final round of hearings to hammer out the last details of California’s record-breaking $263 billion budget — for the fiscal year that began July 1. (If you’re confused about why the Legislature is still fiddling with a budget that went into effect more than two months ago, check out this quick primer from CalMatters’ Ben Christopher.) Alongside the 16 newly introduced budget bills, lawmakers are racing to decide the fate of hundreds of proposals before the legislative session ends Friday. Buckle in for a busy week!
In the meantime, here’s a look at some recent financial announcements from state leaders:
- Newsom and lawmakers said Friday they plan to earmark $16.7 million to support Afghan evacuees in California with cash and food assistance, health care and free temporary housing via a partnership with Airbnb. A budget bill introduced Monday proposes an additional $10 million to “assist refugees from Afghanistan.”
- The state Department of Health Care Services announced late Friday that it will spend $20 million to help support a new mental health crisis hotline, after CalMatters’ Jocelyn Wiener reported that funding seemed uncertain.
- California is paying nearly $5 million to cover the legal fees of businesses that sued it over pandemic restrictions, and has spent an additional $9.5 million defending itself in court, according to reports from the San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times.
- State officials are fast-tracking a $2 million emergency grant for the city of Needles — one of the hottest in the nation and poorest in California — to build a new well so its 5,000 residents no longer have to rely on just one functional well.
- Still up in the air: $4.2 billion for California’s beleaguered bullet train, with Newsom and lawmakers at an impasse over the project’s funding.
- Other items advocates are lobbying Newsom and lawmakers to fund: one-time bonuses for essential workers and expanded pandemic unemployment benefits.