The Bay Area Council applauded Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed 2019-20 budget as a good first step in addressing California’s major challenges while also reflecting the need for fiscal stability and prudence as the possibility of a recession looms in the coming years. The spending plan prioritized investments and policy changes in a number of areas, including early education, housing, higher education, homelessness and transportation, in which the Council is heavily focused. Council CEO Jim Wunderman issued the following statement:
“Gov. Newsom’s budget proposal is bold and innovative without being irresponsible. With its focus on fiscal resilience, housing, education, homelessness and transportation, this spending plan addresses many of our major challenges. We’re extremely encouraged by Gov. Newsom’s plans for balancing new housing investments with badly needed policy reforms, particularly his emphasis on targeting onerous impact fees and increasing accountability at the regional and local levels.
“The increased investments Gov. Newsom is proposing in early education and higher education are also welcome news and promise to produce huge economic returns that will benefit California for many years to come.
“The proposed investments on homelessness solutions included in Gov. Newsom’s budget, accompanied by such long-overdue policy reforms as utilizing idle state land, easing strict environmental regulations and making programs incentive-based, give us a real chance of getting a handle on this entrenched and painful human, social and economic problem. In particular, the Governor’s focus on regional coordination among cities and counties is consistent with an initiative the Council is developing to tackle this scourge.
“We’re also very excited about the new investments in transportation that Gov. Newsom has spelled out, how he connects them with housing and how they reinforce the priorities that voters have emphasized in approving state, regional and local funding to ease traffic and expand public transit.
“California’s economic boom won’t last forever and Gov. Newsom’s plans to increase the state’s reserves as well as paying down debt will ensure we are in a better position to weather the inevitable downturn.”
The Council will be working closely with state legislators and the Newsom administration over the coming months as the budget moves forward along with related legislation needed to implement the policy elements the Governor outlined. To engage in the Council government relations work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.