Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer gave Gov. Gavin Newsom high marks for the $286 billion budget proposal he unveiled on Monday.
Dyer specifically cited planned state investments in housing, homelessness, and advancing the controversial High-Speed Rail project.
“I was grateful to hear (the budget) prioritizes two of Fresno’s most-pressing issues — housing and homelessness,” Dyer said in a news release. “This is exactly what we need in our community. There is money for mental health housing, as well as tiny homes.
“There is money for clearing encampments and helping get services to these residents — from short-term emergency housing to bridge solutions for long-term housing. There is $2 billion for grants and tax credits to help alleviate the state’s severe housing shortage.”
About the years-behind, over-budget High-Speed Rail project, Dyer said, “The sooner this work is completed, the sooner we can reopen our downtown streets that have already been closed far too long for the project.”
Dyer also said that when the project is completed, “Fresno will be the center of the nation’s first high-speed rail line, which will be a huge catalyst for economic development and housing that will help transform the city.”
Arambula, Hurtado, Salas React to Budget Plan
Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) praised Newsom’s proposal to expand Medi-Cal to to income-eligible adults ages 26 to 49, regardless of immigration status.
Arambula has strongly supported Assembly Bill 4, which is commonly called the “Health for All” bill.
“I deeply appreciate Governor Newsom’s commitment to this vital expansion that, in a word, will be transformative for hundreds of thousands of Californians,” Arambula said. “I’m also profoundly grateful to the advocates who have fought for this much-needed change, and I’m excited to keep working with them through its implementation.
“When I was an emergency room physician, I saw how the lack of insurance weighed on patients, how they delayed care or didn’t seek it at all until their condition had reached a critical stage.”
State Sen. Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) called the proposed budget “a step in the right direction.”
Said Hurtado: “Californians are frustrated and I cannot blame them. They haven’t felt the benefits of previous investments. The investments in this year’s budget are a step in the right direction to repair that broken trust, but the Legislature has a lot of work to do. Water and food security are among my highest concerns. We do not just need a gas tax holiday, we need a water tax holiday, and we need to protect our food and water systems from climate change and cyber terrorism. We must address the bed shortage at hospitals, especially in impoverished communities.”
Assemblyman Rudy Salas of Bakersfield, who like Hurtado is a moderate Democrat, said that the spending plan represents “historic levels of investment” in the Central Valley.
“(This) will build long-term water infrastructure, strengthen our local law enforcement and their response to theft, and grow our economy with more workforce development,” Salas said. “These investments, in addition to our expansion of the state’s COVID-19 response and $20.9 billion in our rainy day fund will help California continue as a strong economic powerhouse.”
Salas cited the following as “wins” for the Valley:
● $102 billion for K-12 schools throughout California with the highest per-pupil spending in history.
● $20.9 billion in California’s “Rainy Day Fund.”
● $5.2 billion over three years to support immediate drought response and long-term water resilience, including
funding to support clean drinking water, water recycling and groundwater clean-up, and water conveyance
● $2 billion for combatting homelessness, increasing mental health housing, services, and clearing encampments.
● $1.7 billion to expand the state’s health and human services workforce, including training more nurses, social
workers, emergency medical technicians, behavioral health care providers, and community health care workers.
● $1.2 billion to fight and prevent wildfires, including 20 new fire crews.
● $250 million for Central Valley workforce development.
● $500 million in tax relief for small businesses.
● $285 million for grants to bolster local law enforcement response to organized retail theft crime, as well as to
assist local prosecutors in holding perpetrators accountable.
● $233 million for the new CSU Bakersfield Energy Innovation Center.