May 28, 2024

California is on the precipice of going under, as the legislature seeks to manage the self-inflicted wound of a $27 billion budget deficit. CaLeg has until June 15 to approve a balanced budget or lose their paychecks. Since most of them are funded by Big Labor, that unfortunately is not enough of an incentive. So, with a state in crisis, what has Governor Gavin Newsom focused his attention upon? Well, climate change, of course:

Gov. Gavin Newsom is taking his climate change road show to the Vatican where he was invited to speak by Pope Francis at a Summit of mayors and governors. The Summit, which will be held from May 15th to May 17th, will cover “the impact of rising temperatures” in local communities, and “climate resilience.”

According to Newsom’s office, the Governor is expected to address Pope Francis and talk about the recent fires, floods, and droughts in California. The speech overall is likely to mention his numerous climate policy dates ahead, including his 2045 goal of California being 100% green power and carbon neutral, as well as his 2035 goal of the state no longer selling new gas-powered cars, the Globe reported last week.

On his way to the airport, Newsom threw together a May Revise budget plan to try and combat the billions in deficit with which he has saddled the state. It’s a joke of a document, predicated on pulling from the reserves in the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA), while hanging on to the hope that in two years capital gains will ultimately save the state’s bacon. Sounds like sound financial management to me (warning: *sarcasm alert*):  

Faced with ongoing weaknesses in state finances, Gov. Gavin Newsom put forward a revised budget plan today that he said aims to stabilize California in the longer term by addressing a “sizable deficit” estimated at $56 billion over the next two fiscal years.

The Office of the Governor acts like “ongoing weakness” is some inanimate actor that has taken over the budget and caused this shortfall, instead of the reckless mismanagement of Newsom and his inability to actually run the state—and not into the ground:

Looking beyond the typical annual budget cycle, Newsom proposed more than $30 billion in ongoing and one-time spending cuts, including to education and climate objectives that have been among the governor’s own priorities, though he promised that “core programs” providing social services to needy Californians would be mostly untouched.

“These are propositions that I’ve long advanced, many of them. These are things that I’ve supported,” Newsom said during a press conference in Sacramento. “But you’ve got to do it. We have to be responsible. We have to be accountable. We have to balance the budget.”

Where was responsibility when Newsom was warned in 2021 that if he kept the state shut down it would result in not only people fleeing, but massive tax shortfalls? Where is accountability to the fact that he allowed $32 billion in fraud from his then-Labor Secretary Julie Su, who failed up to occupy the seat at the United States Department of Labor, and has absolved herself of any responsibility for this debt? Where was this concern for keeping the budget balanced when he supposedly had a $45.7 billion surplus? 

As is typical of Newsom, he pontificates about what the budget supposedly delivers, but plays fast and loose with what is actually on the chopping block and what is not. Take homeless initiatives. In recent California legislature oversight hearings, the agency revealed that it cannot account for $24 billion in homeless spending. But somehow Newsom considers it a priority to dip into the BSA to keep that boondoggle going:

While challenging, the current shortfall is more manageable because of the state’s foresight in building the combined budgetary reserves to a record level in 2023. Withdrawals from the BSA will help the state maintain fiscal stability, continue its ongoing efforts to address priority issues such as homelessness and combatting the effects of climate change, and avoid more harmful cuts in programs that are essential to the well-being of Californians throughout the state. 

Yet, the corrupt League of Cities is lobbying to ensure that the measures proposed in no way disrupt their Homeless Industrial Complex-gravy train.

What of the nine-year, $11 billion boondoggle of high-speed rail? Well, like our U.S. Congress with Ukraine, Newsom is not going to do anything to interrupt that money-laundering scheme either. Notice the use of the word “shifting,” and “reducing,” in the following portion of the May Revise, but not one word about “elimination.”

Transit—Shifting $555.1 million from General Fund to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund above what was proposed in the Governor’s Budget, for a total of $1.3 billion in proposed fund shifts for transit. These fund shifts are not expected to have any program impact and the May Revision maintains the Formula Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program ($4 billion) and the Zero Emission Transit Capital Program ($1.1 billion) funding levels. The May Revision also reduces $148 million not used for awarded projects from the Competitive Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program and maintains 96 percent of the Competitive Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program ($3.5 billion of the originally planned $3.65 billion). 

However, critical foster care programs, which actually change lives and produce results? Newsom has no time for that:

Foster Care Permanent Rate Structure—Including statutory language that would make the proposed foster care rate structure subject to a trigger-on, based on the availability of General Fund in spring 2026.

Same with youth mental health initiatives, which were all the rage when the state reopened after the pandemic mess. Somehow, California children’s mental health is no longer of critical concern:

Children and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative—A reduction of one-time $72.3 million General Fund in 2023-24, $348.6 million General Fund in 2024-25, and $5 million General Fund in 2025-26 for school-linked health partnerships and capacity grants for higher education institutions, behavioral health services and supports platform, evidence-based and community-defined grants, public education and change campaign, and youth suicide reporting and crisis response pilot.

This is after First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom had the unmitigated gall to lecture tech companies on prioritizing the mental health of youth. Shorter: pay up, and since hubby is proposing all these cuts, Silicon Valley will be our failsafe.

Despite the record rains that have occurred in the state over the past couple of years—water that went straight into the Pacific Ocean because there has been no new storage capability within the state for over 30 years—Newsom plans to reduce any funding that would correct this: 

 Water Storage—Reducing $500 million one-time in 2025-26 to support water storage facilities. Proposition 1 of 2014 dedicated $2.7 billion for investments in water storage projects, and significant funding is still available for this purpose. 

Look up “tone deaf” in the dictionary, and you’ll find a picture of Gov. Hair Gel flashing his pearly whites. It will be how historians describe his management of the state–right after the word, “Disastrous.”

Assemblyman and Vice Chair of the Budget Committee Vince Fong had this to say about Newsom’s May Revise:

“California’s budget situation is a mess,” said Fong. “I have said repeatedly that budget gimmicks, cost shifts and more borrowing only creates more problems in the future.”

Some of the “gimmicks” include proposed withdrawals from state budget reserves, or “rainy day funds.” The Governor’s office has proposed dipping into the state’s $12.2 billion Budget Stabilization Account and another $900 million from the Safety Net Reserve. The $12.2 billion fund would be used over two years.

“Using budget reserves to prop up unsustainable spending is not only unwise,” said Fong, who is running in two concurrent elections, one to keep his seat in the Assembly, and another to replace outgoing Rep. Kevin McCarthy.

“It’s fiscally irresponsible.”

Newsom’s actions, rather than his words, exhibit the fact that he does not know the meaning of word “responsible,” and as he jets off to Italy to talk about his pet passion, it is obvious that he really does not care.