California Gov. Gavin Newsom threw some more money into the environmental pot Thursday as part of the state’s May budget revision. The new funding includes about $250 million for climate-related programs, thanks to the state’s cap-and-trade program, and $75 million to fund an assessment of wildfire protection plans.
The update of his January budget proposal, required by the state constitution, reflects tax revenue collected through April 15. The record $213.5 billion spending plan includes about $4 billion in additional revenue above his January budget. The Legislature now has until June 15 to pass a budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
A small portion of the extra funding is related to the state’s announcement yesterday that it would begin the process of banning the widely used pesticide chlorpyrifos, which studies have shown harms brain development in young children. The budget now includes $5.7 million for research and development into safer alternatives.
In his public address today, Newsom responded to environmental critics who said the pesticide should be immediately banned, rather than phased out over as many as three years. “The reason we can’t phase it out tomorrow: If we do, we’ll replace it with even more toxic substances,” he said.
Newsom also defended a controversial tax on water bills that would fund programs to rebuild broken or degraded drinking water infrastructure in some of the state’s poorest communities.