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Housing, Education in SF Could Get a Big Boost From State’s $97 Billion Budget Surplus
Friday, May 20, 2022

Housing, Education in SF Could Get a Big Boost From State’s $97 Billion Budget Surplus

San Francisco could see an infusion of cash for housing and education now that the state has a $97.5 billion surplus.

The surplus—up from the $46 billion estimate announced earlier this year— is part of a $300.7 billion budget Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed Friday. He said 94% of the surplus is planned for one-time proposals. 

“No other state in American history has ever experienced a surplus as large as this,” he said.

Outlined in a 400-page document, the governor’s new $300.7 billion budget draft targets school and housing. It also includes $18.1 billion in “inflation relief” in the form of $11.5 billion in tax refunds, including $400 checks to car owners, extended rental and utility assistance and enough money to cover three months of public transit. 

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Last year, the governor’s spending plan clocked in at $227.2 billion—so this year’s bloated piggy bank could insulate the state with some $37.1 billion in reserves. The budget will get another revision in June before it goes in front of the state legislature, which ultimately decides whether to approve it. 

Below is a breakdown of the budget and where it could go.

Schools

  • Funding for transitional kindergarten-through-12th-grade schools is slated for a total $128.3 billion—the highest ever—which amounts to $22,850 per pupil. Some of that should trickle down to San Francisco as its public schools face a budget crisis
  • Hastings College of the Law could see $2 million flow into its general fund for operating costs. 
  • The University of California, San Francisco, Dyslexia Center is also poised to get an increase of $10 million this year. 

Housing and Homelessness

  • The state plans to spend $2.5 billion on housing, including $500 million for things like streamlined development approvals and converting offices to homes, which has so far been too expensive to pencil out in San Francisco
  • As the state plans to add 2.5 million units statewide by 2031—82,000 in San Francisco—Newsom is calling for 17 housing-related CEQA bills, governing environmental oversight.
  • He also proposes $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance.
  • Newsom wants another $2.7 billion to combat homelessness this year. Some of that funding would pay for so-called tiny homes as well as expanded Project Homekey, a program that gets unsheltered people into long-term housing. Some $65 million would go to CARE Court, which would allow judges to sentence people with substance-use disorders to treatment instead of incarceration.

The Pandemic

Small Businesses

  • Newsom announced $500 million for small business grants. Including the early budget actions, small businesses should see around $5 billion in grants this year. 

Crime and Opioid Crisis

  • Newsom plans for a $193 million budget for public safety, including to launch a new fentanyl task force through the state Department of Justice

Transportation

Climate

  • Newsom plans for an additional $9.5 billion this year as part of his two-year $47.1 billion climate budget. That includes $1.3 billion to address the state’s protracted drought. 
  • He also plans for an additional $233 million to prevent and fight wildfires as part of $3.6 billion committed for two years. 
Sarah Wright can be reached at [email protected].
  • We have a surplus? Why can’t taxpayers receive a refund from the state? Or why can’t the state just tax its citizens less? I trust myself with my own money more than I trust the Democratic leadership in California. Just sayin’!

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