October 22, 2021
Weideman Group Weekly
California is on track to experience a second year with a significant budget surplus. The state passed a $262 billion budget that included a $75 billion surplus in fiscal year 2021-2022 and the Governor announced that the state is once again projecting a windfall. The state has collected approximately $14 billion more in tax revenue than the Department of Finance had projected for the year. The surplus presents an opportunity for the state to continue investing in some of the most pressing issues California is facing – housing, healthcare, climate change, wildfires, drought and more.
Bombs and Rivers
Governor Newsom has expanded drought emergency declarations to now include all 58 counties in California. With the entire state now under the statewide declaration, the State Water Resources Control Board can take more aggressive steps to curb wasteful water practices. State reservoirs are at record lows and the Governor has called on Californians to reduce water consumption by 15%. 2021 is on track to be the driest year in 100 years, but there may be hope with a series of storms hitting Northern California simultaneously producing a “bomb cyclone” and an “atmospheric river”.
Governor Newsom signed an executive order designed to help alleviate the ongoing supply chain issue. Under the order, state-owned properties will be utilized as storage to alleviate the current bottleneck. The order also formalizes partnerships between state agencies and the Biden Administration and calls on state agencies to identify long-term solutions for potential inclusion in the Governor’s January Budget, including transportation infrastructure, electrification of the ports and workforce development.
Movers and Shakers
Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-32) has announced his candidacy for California’s 21st congressional district in a bid to unseat incumbent Republican David Valadao. Salas has served in the Assembly since 2012 and joins a growing field of Democrats seeking to unseat Valadao, including former Assemblymember Nicole Parra. Over at the California Public Utilities Commission, Ed Randolph, Deputy Executive Director for Energy and Climate Policy, has announced his departure. This follows on the tails of President Marybel Batjer announcing her retirement from the CPUC effective at the end of the year. The Governor will select Batjer’s replacement and may take an interest in who replaces Randolph.
The September jobs report shows that California added 47,400 new jobs. California has now recovered 63% of the jobs lost to the pandemic, totaling about 812,000 jobs this year, but still has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 7.5%. In more mixed news, 24% of the nation’s total job growth in September happened in California, but the state accounted for 31% of all unemployment claims nationally. In a statement, Governor Newsom said “our economic recovery continues to make promising progress.”