Legislators’ reactions mixed on Newsom budget plan

Politics and government

By Signal Staff 

Local legislative representatives issued mixed reactions this week after Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled his proposed 2022-23 state budget, acknowledging the inclusion of some measures they described as common-sense solutions to problems while also calling on the governor to do more to address key problems facing the state. 

In a prepared statement in which the $286.4 billion budget plan was dubbed the California Blueprint, Newsom’s staff described the budget as “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,” the statement added. “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,” Newsom said in the news release. “As California’s robust recovery continues, we’re doubling down on our work to ensure all our communities can thrive.” 

State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, issued a statement saying some elements of the governor’s budget are a good start — and that Newsom, in the interest of politics, hasn’t given credit where it’s due.  

“The governor likes to thank his fellow Democrats for ideas that originated within the Republican Caucus – but Californians see through that political gamesmanship,” said Wilk, the Senate minority leader. “This budget includes many common-sense Republican requests such as a gas tax holiday, wildfire prevention and forest management, reversing tax increases on businesses, and helping keep business doors open, but so much more needs to be done.” 

Wilk added that he and his GOP colleagues would welcome the opportunity to reach bipartisan solutions. “Senate Republicans worked effectively with former Gov. Jerry Brown on bipartisan solutions and we stand ready to work with Gov. Newsom when he chooses to govern collaboratively to the benefit of all Californians.”  

“Since Newsom is so focused on ‘reimaging the future,’ he should take a better look at building water storage, improving the quality of life for everyday Californians, and analyzing why his spending on homelessness has failed,” said Wilk. “I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature to ensure good ideas remain in this budget and the challenges are addressed.” 

Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, issued a statement saying she was pleased to see the governor’s budget address certain key issues, including some she has personally worked to address. 

“I was thrilled to see the governor agree to a proposal I co-authored to pause the annual increase of the gas tax. Families in Los Angeles County pay some of the highest prices for gas, and now is a good time for relief,” Valladares said in the statement. 

“Californians have weathered crisis after crisis for the last several years, and I was pleased to see the governor’s budget address many of them. We should do everything in our power to end the pandemic, and our schools will require resources to keep students and teachers safe and to stem the learning loss from school closures,” she said. “I’m grateful the governor’s budget allocates resources for both of these issues.” 

Valladares added she looks forward to working with the Newsom administration and fellow legislators to help address homelessness, and said there remain other issues that need addressing. 

“We must pay-down the Economic Development Department’s unfunded debt,” she said. “If not addressed, this will amount to an incredible cost increase for small businesses, which are still reeling from prolonged shutdowns, worker shortages, and supply issues — and that ultimately hurts our fixed-income seniors and working families. I look forward to getting to work on the Budget Committee to help make California more responsive and affordable while trying to make life better for those who have sacrificed so much over the past two years.” 

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