Lawmakers approved $3.4 billion in budget spending on Thursday. The “budget bill junior” at the heart of the package would fund $294 million over two years for food and ag programs, if maintained in the budget next year. This includes incentives for engine upgrades, fridges for food deserts, pollinator habitat support, food hubs, and a “future of food” initiative to accelerate innovation.
The bill would add $855 million to the current budget year for water and drought resilience. About $120 million of that would be for implementing groundwater plans, with half earmarked for the San Joaquin Valley.
Republicans opposed this and other budget bills for excluding investment in surface water storage to prepare for future droughts. Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting of San Francisco countered that the $900 million in climate provisions over three years would actually prepare the state. He argued the funding would help to reverse the effects of climate change, which would reduce the severity of droughts.
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The budget bill junior would also allocate $913 million for wildfires, targeting forest health and prevention. Another bill proposes a continuous appropriation of $200 million for prevention projects through the cap-and-trade fund.