Newsom’s Budget Upholds Promises to Local Governments

Despite a projected $22.5 billion budget deficit, Gov. Gavin Newsom says California will ‘keep its promises’ as it heads into the next fiscal year. Newsom outlined a $297 billion spending plan last week that includes cuts and delayed spending, but also keeps major programs intact. 

Local government advocacy groups applauded the governor for upholding his commitments despite the economic uncertainty. Below are some proposed budget highlights that are relevant to local governments.

2023-2024 Budget Proposal Highlights

  • $3.4 billion in homelessness spending, including $400 million for the third round of encampment resolution grants and $1 billion for the fifth round of Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention (HHAP) grants
  • $88.3 million for CARE Act implementation plus proposed additional funding for local assistance ($16.5 million in 2023-24, $66.5 million in 2024-25, $108.5 million in 2025-26, and annually thereafter)
  • $79 million to increase distribution of Naloxone to first responders, police, county agencies and community organizations
  • $10 million in grants to increase local education, testing, recovery, and services for fentanyl, plus $4 million help make fentanyl test strips more widely available
  • $135 million for local agencies working to reduce urban flood risk and $25 million for Central Valley flood protection 
  • Maintains almost all fire prevention funding but cuts the extreme heat and community resilience program by 40% and reduces the Urban Greening Program by $100 million
  • $83.9 million in grants to local governments through the Board of State and Community Corrections to assist with cannabis enforcement, fire protection, public health and public safety efforts related to cannabis regulation
  • Delays investment of $100 million in 2023-24 to support local libraries
  • Closure of several correctional facilities in Blythe; California City; Norco; Chino; Tehachapi; Crescent City; San Luis Obispo; and Folsom

“California county supervisors are pleased by the Governor’s commitment to most ongoing investments amid this economic uncertainty,” said Riverside County Supervisor Chuck Washington, who heads the California State Association of Counties. “Counties are key partners with the state in providing direct essential services to all Californians. Every dollar counts and counties will work with the Governor and Legislature to strategically enhance critical investments in combatting homelessness, improving access to behavioral health services, and supporting the next generation.”  

Cal Cities Executive Director and CEO Carolyn Coleman said the proposed budget “honors funding commitments to local governments made in the 2022 Budget that bolster essential local programs and support our most vulnerable residents.” However, she urged the state to “double down” on efforts to address homelessness. 

“Make no mistake: Funding included in previous state budgets to reduce and prevent homelessness is welcomed. But one-time investments will not solve this crisis. We need ongoing state funding and a coordinated approach with clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all levels of government that supports long-term solutions. With half of the entire country’s unsheltered population residing in our state, our unsheltered residents deserve nothing less, and the scale of the crisis requires it.”