California governor: $98B surplus backs true pro-life state

Sacramento, Calif. (AP) — California Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday pledged to use the state’s record-breaking $300 billion budget, including an unprecedented surplus of nearly $100 billion, to protect the state from the effects of a volatile midterm election “for the future.” for evidence”. They fear it will undermine abortion access, gun safety and privacy protections across the country.

The first-term governor of the country’s most populous state – and a potential Democratic presidential candidate – used his budget presentation on Friday to campaign for his progressive credentials while attacking his rivals in conservative states.

He made major increases in spending on health care, education, child care and the environment, as well as pledged $125 million to make it easier for women to get abortions in California, including other states.

With the US Supreme Court likely to overturn Roe v. Wade next month, Newsom pointed to a sign that California is displaying a lower COVID-19 death rate than the Republican-led states of Florida, Texas and Arizona. All of which are expected to move forward. If the court reverses the row, it prohibits or outlaws abortion.

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Newsom instituted the nation’s first statewide coronavirus stay-home order and many have credited his aggressive actions during the pandemic with saving lives. Critics say they exacerbated and worsened the economic damage.

“If you are pro-life, how is that possible?” Newsom said of the higher death rates in three states that used a more pragmatic approach during the pandemic. “Leave me their mantra on being pro-life. They don’t deserve that status.”

In Newsom’s presentation, the sign noted how California compared to “the most populous state”. Texas is number 2, followed by Florida. But Arizona is number 14. The No. 4 state is the Democratic-led, which is in favor of abortion rights, New York, which has a COVID death rate higher than Texas and on par with Florida.

Brian Griffin, Florida Gov. Deputy Press Secretary Ron DeSantis disputed Newsom’s claim, arguing that Florida has done well regarding COVID as well as California in an “appropriately adjusted format,” but Yet it has preserved the personal liberties of its citizens and has not destroyed the plethora of small businesses in the process.”

California’s estimated $97.5 billion budget surplus is unlike anything seen before at the state level and is driven by rising tax revenues. This is larger than the entire operating budget of almost every other state.

The constant influx of tax money prompted California Republicans—who don’t have a substantial number of influences in the state legislature—to complain about high taxes reducing quality of life.

“He did not propose any permanent tax relief to deal with the worsening affordability crisis caused by his policies,” said Republican Vince Fong, deputy chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee. “The governor doesn’t want to admit it, but California is in trouble and its budget is shaky.”

Newsom said the increase in revenue was “an indication of how well people are doing well in this economy” and a reflection of “the concentration of wealth and success in the hands of a few”.

Nearly half of California’s income tax collection comes from the top 1% of earners who have done well during the pandemic. That system makes the state more vulnerable than others to the boom and bust of the economy.

Capital gains — increases in the value of assets such as stocks and other investments where most of the wealthy obtain their assets — make up 9.7% of California’s personal income. This is the second highest ever recorded since 2000, just before the dot-com bubble burst and the start of the recession.

The Newsom administration said it could be a sign the economy was about to slow down again, citing uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and recent actions by the Federal Reserve to tackle runaway inflation. It forecasts a 22% decline in capital gains revenue next year.

Newsom’s proposal would leave the state with $37.1 billion in reserves, while almost all of its surplus would be used on things that are not recurring expenses. One of their biggest proposals is to return $18.1 billion to taxpayers in the form of tax exemptions and programs that help with rent, utility bills and health insurance premiums.

With gas prices reaching a record-high in March, Newsom suggests suspending the state tax on diesel fuel, offering rebates of up to $800 for every person with state-registered vehicles, and making everyone public. Has spent $750 million to provide free rides on transportation. three months.

But that proposal went nowhere in the state legislature, where Democratic leaders favor a narrower relief package that would target only low- to middle-income households.

Newsom insisted that the two sides would come to an agreement to check out later this year. Republicans argue that the state should instead temporarily suspend its gas tax, which is the highest in the country at 51.1 cents a gallon.

“The governor is living in an election-year fantasy if he believes debit cards and promises of discounts in the fall will now provide relief,” said Senate Republican leader Scott Wilk.

Newsom’s budget presentation comes as the state is reeling under a deep drought and state energy officials have warned of potential power shortages during the summer when air conditioning is at its peak.

The governor called on people to cut their water use by 15%, but consumption increased dramatically in March. Newsom wants to spend more money encouraging conservation, providing loans to struggling drinking water systems, and promoting water recycling. This includes $75 million in grants to farms and businesses affected by drought.

In the meantime, he is calling for $5 billion to create a “strategic stockpile” of 5,000 megawatts of energy to help the state survive the blackout. One megawatt can power 750 to 1,000 homes.

Newsom’s budget document included limited details about how the reserve would be built, but he indicated that he plans to keep the Diablo Canyon nuclear facility online in line with its planned closure in 2025, as well as keeping some gas-fired power plants online. open to possibility. to retire.

The budget plan must be approved by the Legislature and take effect from July 1.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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