California Budget Includes Basic Income Program
Sacramento, CA–California Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled his $268 billion budget, a budget that is one-third larger than the current one that is being propelled by tax revenues and federal stimulus money. A major part of this budget proposal is a $35 million “universal basic income pilot program” that gives poor people money each month to help ease the stresses of poverty. This will be the first statewide funding for a program for an idea that has gained traction elsewhere. This money would not create a program run by the state itself but allows city governments to pursue funding to start their own.
The new budget also includes a tax rebate for 11 million people who would get direct payments of up to $1,100. Also, 7.2 billion would be set aside to help people that have fallen behind on rent and utility bills.
Other issues receiving funding, drought-related programs will be getting $6 billion, and building housing units for the homeless will get $8.75 billion.
Newsom also announced that the state will use $300 million to forgive traffic fines for low-income residents, with details to be worked out by lawmakers and the state’s Judicial Council.
Newsom said he wants to spend $11 billion to build what his office termed “a modernized transportation system for the next century.” That includes not only repairing decayed roads and bridges, but more spending for the state’s troubled bullet train, other public transportation, the state’s ocean ports, and projects around the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
Motherlode Senator Andreas Borgeas criticized the budget by saying “The Governor’s use of unanticipated revenue for one-time investments may give Californias a short-term boost from the pandemic, but many of these programs are unsustainable and impractical in the long run. California taxpayers are funding the billions of dollars in recall rebates being distributed by the Governor. Instead of throwing around billions, and at speeds where accountability and efficacy process remained questionable, I would encourage the governor to focus on long-term, sustainable strategies to solve our state’s issues surrounding homeless, housing affordability, education, water infrastructure, economic growth, and wildfires.”