Flush Budget, Unfinished Business Await California Lawmakers

Source: Associated Press

California lawmakers are flush with money and unfinished business from last year as they return to the state Capitol on Monday, but they head into an election year rife with uncertainty due to the redrawing of legislative districts after the 2020 census.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said he anticipates another “historic” budget surplus months after he approved a record spending plan that topped a quarter-trillion dollars including a $75 billion surplus. Legislative analysts predict the state will have another $31 billion surplus for the fiscal year starting July 1.

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Assembly budget chairman Phil Ting set similar priorities but does not expect the Legislature to immediately allocate billions of dollars this year as it did last year to address the coronavirus pandemic and in anticipation of a severe wildfire season.

“It’s interesting the economy continues to do well (but) people don’t feel it,” Ting said. “And so I think we have to get a sense of exactly where the pain points are, and what the best ways to help them out.”