Becker Reacts To Governor’s Proposed Environmental Budget Cuts

SACRAMENTO – “We spent the last two years making a historic $54 billion investment to battle climate change.  The proposed cuts and delays are concerning at a time when we should be accelerating our work, not tapping the brake pedal.  As the chair of the budget subcommittee that will be reviewing these proposals, I’m committed to looking for ways to keep the climate change agenda moving forward.”

That’s how Senator Josh Becker (D-San Mateo), the new chairman of the Senate Budget & Fiscal Review Committee’s Subcommittee 2 on Resources, Environmental Protection and Energy, reacted to the proposed environmental program cuts announced today as part of the Governor’s proposed 2023-24 state budget.

“We’re looking at a budget shortfall of anywhere from $22.5 to $24 billion, so on the one hand, maintaining about 90% of the money for environmental and climate change programs is terrific news,” continued Becker. “On the other hand, if federal money isn’t available to backfill some of those proposed cuts, pulling back on these climate and environmentally-sensitive investments now is going to make progress that much harder.” 

Among the proposed reductions in the Governor’s budget:

  • The last two budgets allocated about $54 billion over five years for climate-related programs.  This year’s proposed budget reduces that to $48 billion, 89% of last year’s funding.
  • Zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) programs are reduced from $10 billion to approximately $8.9 billion, a drop of 11%.  This will mean less money for expanding ZEV infrastructure to low-income areas; for heavy-duty vehicles; and for demonstration projects in high carbon-emitting sectors such as shipping, aviation, and railroads; 
  • Energy budget investments would be maintained at 89% of last year’s funding level, dropping from about $7.9 billion to $7 billion.  Among the programs most affected would be a 30% cut in funding for the state’s residential solar program (a drop of $270 million); a 13% cut in the long duration energy storage program (a drop of $50 million); a 25% reduction in the California Energy Commission’s carbon removal program (a drop of $25 million); a 9% cut to the program to decarbonize homes and buildings (a $370 million cut in the 2023-24 proposed budget and an $87 million cut in the 2025-26 budget);
  • Money to make our coastline more resilient would be cut by 43%, a drop of more than $550 million.  Among the programs affected would be the elimination of the San Francisco Wetlands Support program ($10.4 million) and a 45% cut (about $175 million) to the state’s coastal protection and adaptation program.

“I’m hopeful that as we work through these issues in committee over the next several months, we’ll be able to – whether it’s through an improved economy or funding from the federal government – reverse these proposed cuts and stay the course we’ve charted with the Governor over the past two years,” concluded Becker.

Subcommittee 2 will begin hearings on the Governor’s environmental budget proposals in late February.  Subcommittee 2 traditionally approves more than $12 billion in funding each year – though the climate packages of the last two years boosted that number to over $20 billion.  The subcommittee reviews, adjusts and approves the budgets of all state agencies dealing with natural resources, environmental protection, and energy issues. 

First elected in 2020, Senator Becker represents the 13th Senate District covering portions of Santa Clara and San Mateo counties and includes the cities of Belmont, Half Moon Bay, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Menlo Park, Millbrae, Mountain View, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Portola Valley,, Redwood City, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Mateo, South San Francisco, and Woodside.

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