In response to California's budget deficit, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed cutting climate change programs to help address the issue.
On Tuesday, the governor unveiled the state's 2023-24 budget, which included a reduction in investments in programs such as climate change and zero-emission vehicles.
The budget proposes to delay about $7.4 billion in funding for climate change programs. It also proposes to reduce or withdraw about $5.7 billion.
The proposed $297 billion budget was presented due to the state's declining revenues. The governor's administration attributed the drop in revenue to various factors, such as high inflation and the stock market's volatility.
In July, Newsom had claimed that the state would have a surplus of $100 billion this year. However, due to the current economic situation, the state is now expecting a deficit of over $21 billion. To address the financial strain caused by the budget deficit, some of the funds will be used to fund other programs.
Newsom noted "that due to the uncertainty of the state's financial situation in the future, the state will not be touching its reserve funds."
He stated that he was confident that the state would be able to weather the current economic situation. He also noted that California was well-positioned to weather a recession.
The proposed budget allocates almost $48 billion to climate change investments in 2023-24, which is significantly less than the previous two budgets.
"The budget noted that the projected decline in the state's general fund revenues led to the reduction in climate programs. However, if the state's financial situation improves in January 2024, most of the program's cuts will be restored."
The budget reduces the allocation for zero-emission vehicles from $10 billion in 2022 and 2021 to almost $8 billion, with most of the cuts affecting the state's most vulnerable communities. Some of the funds will be transferred to the Cap and Trade funds.
The budget also provides for targeted investments in low-income and disadvantaged communities. These include expanding access to clean transportation and reducing the state's transportation sector's greenhouse gas emissions.
The implementation of the state's ambitious climate legislation, which was signed by Newsom in 2022, will be closely monitored.
The goal of the climate legislation is to reduce air pollution by 60% by 2050 and reduce the state's oil consumption by 91%.
Due to the budget's reduction in climate programs and the delay in the funding of zero-emission vehicles, it is now up to the state to figure out how to meet its goals.
The legislature of California has until June 15 to pass the state's next budget. This is the first time that the governor has had to make significant cuts since he took office in 2019.
The preceding is a summary of an article that originally appeared on Washington Examiner.