Written by William Hekman
Governor Gavin Newsom is set to put forth his budget proposal for the fiscal year starting in July. While there is funding for important areas like fire prevention and clean water, Newsom is asking for $2.7 billion for COVID response money, which includes $1.4 billion in emergency spending as California deals with the omicron variant.
Newsom previewed his COVID funding proposal on Saturday. His proposal would also include an extension of paid sick leave to those who must take sick leave because of COVID exposure or diagnosis should the legislation be passed. The extension is modeled after a program that was started in March of 2021 but ended in September, just seven months later. Much of the budget proposal is slated to be for testing. According to the proposal, $1.2 billion will go to expanding testing. Newsom had promised to send tests to California school districts so students could return to school safely after break, but almost half of the six million tests sent out did not make it by the time students were to return.
One part of Newsom’s budget proposal seems to be completely wasteful and unnecessary. $583 million will be devoted to “combating misinformation” and a continuation of vaccine education programs. The government will apparently partner with 250 ethnic media groups for this program. California Assembly Minority Leader Marie Waldron stated, “They bungled the response to COVID – now they want another $2.7 billion.While some of this money is going to the right places, all the funding in the world won’t make a difference if we don’t change the way it’s spent.” Republicans in the legislature have urged Newsom to devote more money to solving homelessness and called for him to call a special session.
The government of California has botched a lot of things when it comes to COVID and the response to it, and they continue to think that throwing more money at it will solve the problem.
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