SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Governor Newsom announced his $222 billion budget proposal on Friday.
The budget is expands funding for health care, education, and the homeless crisis. Newsom is also aiming to drive down the price of prescription drugs. He wants California to become the first state in the nation to establish its own drug label and extend health care to older, low-income immigrants who are in the country illegally.
CBS13 investigative reporter Julie Watts sat down with the Governor on Friday to discuss what the budget proposal means for Californians’ day-to-day cost of living.
We gave the governor an example of a viewer who makes $60,000 a year, too much to qualify for the expanded earned income tax credit. She lives in a high fire danger area, so she can’t get fire insurance. She has high prescription drug costs, and she has to pay for child care because her kid’s kindergarten is only half-day.
Last year the governor vetoed a bill that would have made mandated full-day kindergarten to get rid of that cost.
The following is part of the Q&A between Julie and Governor Newsom:
Julie: How does this budget impact those folks who aren’t at the poverty level but can’t survive in California?
Newsom: “Well, she probably is the biggest beneficiary, of not just this year’s budget but last year’s budget. We put $300 million to expand full-day kindergarten, and did more to improve the quality of the education of her child than we ever have in the past, and we’ve provided now unprecedented healthcare coverage and subsidies that she otherwise would not have been afforded. They’re deeper subsidies and we’ve expanded it in case she earns $70,000+ which would trigger, in the past, a 400% double poverty level where she would have gotten nothing. So she is exactly the person we had in mind with this year’s budget.”
Julie: We are dealing with a lot of viewers who are fleeing the state, mostly because they can’t afford to keep thier homesin the foothills because they can’t get insurance. How does this budget address that?
Newsom: “We have over $100 million in home hardening support, which ultimately helps with requirements for insurance…defensible space, specifically $75 million for grants.”
Julie: So people will be able to apply for that money to help increase their defensible space and hopefully insurers will choose to insure them?
Newsom: “We’re going to do more on insurance reform. That’s a separate conversation being done parallel with our budget.”
Newsom also spoke about the new prescription drug program and expanded paid family leave, which still does not apply to public employees like first responders and teachers.
You can watch the full interview below:
State lawmakers have until June 15th to vote on the budget.