Newsom makes early California budget proposals

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Pedestrians walk past a closed hair styling salon in San Francisco in December. Califoria Gov. Gavin Newsom said his budget proposal will include billions in small business measures.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the state budget proposal he will release Friday will include a $4.5 billion economic recovery package.

He will unveil his 2021-22 budget plan during a Friday press conference.

In a brief overview Tuesday, Newsom said his proposal builds on actions the state has taken to support California’s businesses throughout the pandemic, including emergency aid, regulatory relief and a commitment to rebuilding the economy with investments that benefit businesses of all sizes.

He proposed $575 million for small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19-based closures. The money would come on top of the initial $500 million allocated in partnership with the Legislature to the California Small Business COVID-19 Relief Grant.

“These budget proposals reflect our commitment to an equitable, broad-based recovery that ensures California remains the best place to start and grow a business,” Newsom said.

He also proposed allocating $777.5 million for job creation and retention, offering businesses of different sizes tax incentives to remain in the state. Roughly $100 million would go to the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank’s small business finance center to provide small business loan and disaster loan guarantees.

Newsom's budget plan will also include $300 million in one-time general fund money for critical statewide deferred maintenance projects and $500 million for the Infill Infrastructure Grant Program to create jobs and long-term housing development with the aim of building 7,500 new homes by alleviating the costs for sewers, roads and site preparation. He will also include an additional $1.5 billion to accelerate the state’s progress toward achieving his goal of requiring sales of all new passenger vehicles to be zero-emission by 2035.

On Monday, the governor also said during a press conference that his budget plan will include $300 million to bolster California' vaccine distribution.

Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, D-San Diego and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, D-Lakewood, issued a joint statement following the governor’s announcement about his economic recovery plan.

“Californians are hurting and need immediate assistance to weather the current crisis,” the two Democratic leaders said in the statement. “A unified effort is critical to success and we look forward to working with the governor on the specifics of his, and legislative proposals to take early action in providing meaningful additional relief.”

Newsom said his "early action" budget proposal would be aimed at immediate relief, but the Democratic lawmakers noted in their statement that a final budget will not be approved by the Legislature until June. They also cautioned that lawmakers "must continue on the responsible path of ensuring our actions strengthen California and our communities, and not add to the economic challenges we are facing.”

Atkins joined with Democrat Senate colleagues Anna Cabellero, D-Salinas, Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, and Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, in introducing on Dec. 16 a six-bill package of housing bills.

COVID-19 has intensified the need for housing affordability, access and opportunity, Atkins said when the lawmakers introduced that measure.

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