Statement: Gov. Newsom’s proposed budget cuts environment, climate programs

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Facing a $22.5 billion deficit, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday unveiled his 2023-2024 budget, which proposes cutting $6 billion in investments to stave off the worst impacts of the climate crisis. 

The proposed budget would cut: 

  • More than $1 billion in clean energy funding, including solar and storage and building electrification
  • More than $1 billion from the state’s zero emission vehicle incentive programs
  • More than $2 billion from clean transportation like transit, walking and biking funds
  • Over $700,000 from ocean and coast and nature based solutions.

The budget does commit enough resources to implement recently passed climate legislation. Those new laws will accelerate the state’s transition from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy and protect communities from the adverse effects of oil and gas drilling. 

To his credit, the governor proposed ways to minimize the impacts on environmental programs. Those include ‘budget triggers’ that would restore priority climate investments in the event of a brighter budget picture, a request for additional federal climate funds for California and the option to issue bonds to raise money. With the governor’s proposal completed, the state legislature will now work to develop its version. 

Environment California State Director Laura Deehan issued the following statement:

“Cuts to climate and environment initiatives are penny-wise but pound-foolish. While it’s true that Gov. Newsom has to make tough choices given the difficult budget situation, proposing delays and cuts to the programs that will protect California from the worst impacts of climate change is not a good response. Federal environmental investments and innovative clean energy solutions — such as solar on highways — that could save the state money or generate revenue are now more crucial than ever.

“We still have a chance to come up with a better solution. This proposal is only the first step toward a final budget. We look forward to working with the state legislature and the Governor’s office to get a more climate-friendly budget signed by June 15th.”

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