For two sessions, the pandemic has disrupted the state’s standard budget process. This has led to skeleton budget bills passed to meet deadlines, followed by dozens of trailer bills to flesh out details months later. It has also led to confused messaging.
On Tuesday, CDFA Secretary Karen Ross reported that $363 million for funding ag engine upgrades is in the works as part of a two-year spending plan.
To clarify, the administration and lawmakers have been negotiating a “budget bill junior” that includes $170 million for this program, known as FARMER, with another $43 million for the effort from the Carl Moyer Program at the Air Resources Board.
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The administration is proposing an additional $150 million for FARMER in the 2022-23 budget, which carries little certainty for ag interests. This would be a part of next year’s budget negotiations, which begin in January. Given that the money would come from the state’s general taxpayer fund, the allocation would depend on tax revenues and whether the state maintains economic growth.
In budget hearings, frustrated lawmakers have struggled to separate proposed spending for the next cycle from the current trailer bills as well as budgets bills passed in June and initiatives that have dramatically changed since the governor's May revision of his budget proposal.