Politics in California: Newsom’s budget is ready for disaster – just like his jacket

by Hannah Turner
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As California moves from abundance to poverty, the mood is markedly different than it was a few years ago when Governor Gavin Newsom presented his budget proposal.

The atmosphere was markedly different from the previous year when the Governor was in office. Gavin Newsom took the stage on Tuesday to present the first draft budget for the second term.

The crowd in the room was relatively small, not including the cast of dignitaries who sat in on the first budget presentation of 2019. He didn’t walk around the stage in his style of Ted Talks like he used to. Instead of his usual navy blue suit and tie, the governor wore a blue zip-up jacket that he liked to wear when visiting disaster areas.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom discusses his budget proposal in Sacramento on Tuesday.(José Luis Villegas / AP)

Yes, Newsom was on his way to the storm-hit coast after the budget presentation. But the clothing choices seemed like a metaphor for the home season as California transitions from abundance to scarcity.

My name is Laurel Rosenhall, Sacramento bureau chief of The Times. She shares some of the biggest stories in California politics this week.

Cut your budget and control your image

Newsom is now dealing with a deficit after years of budgets so big that the state sent checks to most Californians. While his projected $22.5 billion deficit isn’t catastrophic, it’s still relatively modest with a budget of about $300 billion, which Newsom puts in place to put forward his January spending plan. This is the first time since I took office that I have been forced to make such a large cut.


The governor’s plan includes cutting government spending to combat climate change and deferring funding for 20,000 new childcare facilities. A colleague of mine and I discuss this in this article. It is also deferring some other multi-year investments and shifting some spending out of the General Fund into bonds to make up for shortfalls.

But it doesn’t dip into the state’s rainy day fund, which shows Newsom’s concern about the possibility of a looming recession.

Schools escaped deep cuts, and Newsom spends $3.5 million on all middle and high schools to ameliorate fentanyl and drug overdoses amid growing concerns children are being harmed by the opioid crisis We included an inexpensive but dramatic offer to offer naloxone, a drug used to Newsom benefited from extraordinary fortune during his first term as governor as the federal government showered states with cash to help them weather the pandemic, writes Times columnist George Skelton.

Luck can finally run out. The Times editorial board says 2023 will be the year reality returns to California homes.

The modest budget presentation came just days after Newsom gave a lavish inauguration on the anniversary of the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. In a very personal speech, he shared anecdotes from his childhood and talked about the death of his parents. But he also spoke of California as a progressive state determined to expand individual rights. I painted a portrait of This in contrast to Red State leaders who “silence speeches, fire teachers, kidnap immigrants, subdue women, subdue Special Attack Olympics, and demonize Mickey Mouse.”.

(The speech didn’t include the words “Ron DeSantis,” but if you look at the Florida governor’s inaugural address three days ago, it certainly looks like they’re talking.)

Newsom’s inauguration was as perfect as politicians could expect, writes Times columnist Anita Chhabria. Sunlight was breaking through the clouds, and the march across the Sacramento Bridge yielded a photo commemorating Barack Obama’s march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. – itself a memorial to his 1965 Civil Rights March.

But the carefully choreographed event reflects Newsom’s “need for control and focus on appearance,” she says.

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