The legislative portion of the State Budget process kicked off this week with the Assembly and Senate budget committees both meeting to hear the Governor’s 2020–21 State Budget proposal. In the Assembly, Budget Chair Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) largely praised Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal, but did remark that they were hoping for a larger investment in early childhood education, a sentiment that was echoed by others on the Committee.
After Department of Finance (DOF) Chief Deputy Director Vivek Viswanathan briefly presented the Governor’s proposals, Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek provided his office’s analysis. For Proposition 98, Petek noted the split of ongoing versus one-time spending: the Governor is proposing $1.4 billion in new ongoing spending for a 2.29% cost-of-living adjustment and growth/decline in community college and school districts and $1.9 billion for one-time spending. Petek believes the split of resources is prudent to prevent the state from overextending itself with ongoing spending commitments in the face of a very mature economic expansion. In further discussing the use of one-time spending, Petek suggested the Legislature might want to consider repurposing some of the one-time funding to help districts address their unfunded liabilities, such as the California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System retirement systems.
These overview hearings look at the State Budget at the macro level and went into few details. The nitty gritty of the proposals will be dug into during the upcoming subcommittee hearings, which will begin in several weeks. Between now and then, around February 1, the DOF will release the trailer bill language that provides the specifics of the Governor’s proposals. From there, community college stakeholders will have more information to assess the new or expanded programs, such as the California Apprenticeship Initiative.