Governor Signs Final Budget in a Difficult Year
On July 10, 2023, Governor Newsom signed the 2023-24 budget and related budget policy bills, bringing to close sometimes difficult negotiations with the Legislature against a backdrop of dropping state revenues.
In the state’s 2020-21 and 2021-22 fiscal budgets, California enjoyed eye-popping surpluses. In contrast, this year the Governor and members of the Legislature had to contend with a deficit forecast that ballooned almost 40 percent from $22.5 billion in January to $32 billion when the Governor issued his May Revision.
To close the gap, Governor Newsom had proposed cuts to many natural resources and park priorities, including deferred maintenance funding for state parks, funding for the Statewide Parks Program, and funding for the California State Coastal Conservancy. The final deal kept many of these cuts, but did restore funding for the California State Coastal Conservancy thanks to advocacy from Senator John Laird and Senator Josh Becker.
Unfortunately, the final budget cuts $31 million from deferred maintenance funding originally allocated in 2020-21. That original allocation was $185 million, but some funds remained unspent, and these funds represent the $31 million cut this year. California State Parks Foundation strongly disagrees with this action because we believe that California State Parks will never resolve its $1.2 billion deferred maintenance backlog without regular and consistent investments in deferred maintenance.
Key investments final deal for state parks include:
$53.5 million allocation to the Statewide Parks Program, almost all of the $55 million allocated to the program in the Governor’s original budget request. Unspent funds from the 2021-22 allocation of $155 million were cut by $11.6 million
$25 million for the Outdoor Equity Grant Program, with an additional $25 million allocated for 2024-25
Allocating $5 million to the City of Redondo Beach for land acquisition for future local park development
Allocating $1 million for Monument Mesa Day Use & Interpretation Area improvement at Border Field State Park
In addition, the deal preserves a $30 million commitment for the Tribal Nature-Based Solutions Program at the California Natural Resources Agency. However, it cuts $25 million of the originally-proposed $35 million to replenish the now-exhausted Recreational Trails and Greenways Grants Program, originally created by 2018’s Prop. 68
The Governor and members of the Legislature continue to negotiate around a potential climate bond measure for 2024, which may restore some funding for natural resources and climate priorities. California State Parks Foundation is requesting a $500 million investment in state parks’ deferred maintenance and $200 million for state parks’ acquisition in any climate bond that reaches the voters.
Want to take action to protect and preserve state parks?
Use your voice to let elected officials know your support for critical park maintenance projects that would make parks more resilient to the effects of climate change! Sign our action alert here: https://act.calparks.org/a/sb867-ab1567.