El Centro, California - Friday morning, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled California’s $222 billion spending plan for Fiscal Year 2020-2021. This marks the official beginning of the State budget process, which will culminate with the Legislature’s approval of a State budget in mid-June. Included in the plan is the proposal for investments in the New River and Salton Sea.
“I am encouraged to learn about the Governor’s budget proposal that includes funding to address these public and environmental health threats that we are faced with on a daily basis with the New River and Salton Sea,” stated Chairman of the Board and District 2 Supervisor Luis Plancarte. “I fully support that Governor Newsom continue tackling these issues to improve the quality of life for our residents. We look forward to working with our legislators, Assemblyman Garcia and Senator Hueso, to ensure that the funding remains in the final budget.”
In addition to investments in many issues of priority, the Governor’s January budget proposal contains significant resources for climate resiliency in response to and preparation for climate impacts. The cornerstone of the Governor’s proposal, aligning with his Water Resilience Portfolio, is a new $4.75 billion climate resilience bond that the Governor proposes to be placed on the November 2020 ballot. If approved, the bond would provide funding to reduce specific climate risks, while moving toward achieving its carbon footprint goals. Within the proposed bond, is a $220 million allocation to support Salton Sea habitat and air quality mitigation projects within the State’s Salton Sea Management Plan.
Furthermore, apart from the bond, the Governor’s proposal includes $103 million one-time General Fund for efforts to support the draft Water Resilience Portfolio, including a $28 million capital investment for the New River Improvement Project. The New River Improvement Project features a pipe that encases the contaminated water entering at the International Boundary bypassing Calexico, reroutes the wastewater discharged from the City of Calexico’s treatment facility to restore some flow in the original river channel through the city, and installs a trash screen just north of the border. The estimated cost of the project is $28 million.
The State Legislature will now consider Governor Newsom’s budget until the Governor releases a revised version of his budget in May. Then the Legislature will need to approve a FY 2020-21 budget by June 15, 2020.