Governor Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 budget prioritizes climate resiliency, equal access to state parks  | Cal Parks

Governor Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 budget prioritizes climate resiliency, equal access to state parks 

Published: January 31, 2022

On January 10, 2022, Governor Newsom released his proposed 2022-23 budget. This year, it is estimated California will enjoy a $31 billion surplus. After statutory obligations are met, the governor and Legislature will have an estimated $9.5 billion in on-going funding available and $10.2 billion in one-time funding available for the 2022-23 budget.

Office of the Governor of California, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

The governor’s budget projects $286 billion in spending, with $213 billion from the General Fund. This is a 9.1% total spending increase from last year. The governor’s proposed budget emphasizes solving five key issues: 

  1. Fighting COVID with Science 

  1. Combating the Climate Crisis 

  1. Confronting Homelessness 

  1. Tacking the Cost of Living 

  1. Keeping our Streets Safe 

California State Parks Foundation is especially excited about Governor Newsom’s emphasis in investment in combating the climate crisis. Our state parks are affected each day by climate related challenges like drought, wildfires, and sea-level rise. To accomplish the lofty goal, the budget allocates: 

  • $1.2 billion for wildfire protection, including $582 million for forest thinning, prescribed burns, and reforestation 

  • $750 million for drought preparedness, including $250 million for drought contingency support 

  • $350 million for coastal protection and restoration 

  • $50 million for projects to protect and restore healthy ocean and coastal ecosystems 

Of note during the governor’s three-hour presentation and Q&A session, the governor states California State Parks are “really one of the great gifts that we all as Californians benefit from, but not equally, and we want to equalize that access… We are parks people. We are commitment to investing in our parks.” 

To this end, the governor’s proposed budget includes $728 million to support the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Related to California State Parks Foundation priorities, this budget includes: 

  • $50 million to honor history and culture with art installations in parks that tell the story of Californian’s valuable cultural and historical heritage and resources 

  • $50 million to improve park experiences and equitable access for infrastructure projects to increase equitable access to state parks and improve visitor experience 

  • $18 million to improve park experiences and increase park funding with Capital Outlay projects, including construction of La Sage Bridge Replacement at Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area, Low-Cost Accommodations at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, an Entrance Kiosk at Pismo State Beach, and a Water Treatment System at MacKerricher State Park 

  • $15.6 million for cost-sharing with the federal government to build climate resilient parks by stopping beach erosion  

  • $9.8 million to honor the history and culture of California Native Americans with land acknowledgements and exhibit improvements 

The California Department of Parks and Recreation budget is similar to the governor’s original proposed 2021-22 budget. However, by the end of last budget cycle, much to everyone’s surprise during a global pandemic, the state was flush with a $76 billion surplus. This surplus led to important investments in tackling deferred maintenance, getting fourth graders into state parks with the California State Park Adventure Pass, and restoring parks affected by wildfires, to name a few. 

The governor’s proposed budget is just that, a proposal, that will be debated and altered based on fiscal and political winds. From now until May, each house of the Legislature will meet in sub-committees to approve, reject, and adjust the governor's budget proposal. In May, the governor will consider these adjustments made by sub-committees and a more accurate economic outlook for the year to produce the “May Revise.” Then, the process of deliberation starts over in the Legislature with the goal of the approving a final budget proposal. After the Legislature approves the budget, the governor can sign it or veto some or all the budget by June 15. With both the executive and legislative branch held by Democrats, it is unlikely the governor will veto the budget though.  

California State Parks Foundation intends to be at the table advocating to protect and build upon the investments made in the governor’s proposed budget for California state parks at every step of the way.