As an agreement between legislative leaders and the governor, a pair of budget trailer bills will bring the state’s total spending on wildfire prevention and suppression to $1.5 billion. The bills, now on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk, will appropriate $758 million from the general taxpayer fund and more than $200 million from the state’s cap-and-trade revenues. The package includes:
- $257 million for forest health and resiliency
- $282 million for fire prevention grants and prescribed burning
- $139 million for prevention through state conservancies
- $51 million as an economic stimulus and for workforce development in the forestry industry
“No other governor has invested more on CalFire and wildfire prevention than the one that we have here today,” said Sen. Mike McGuire of Healdsburg in a budget committee hearing on the record spending. “But we are in desperate need for a long-term strategic plan associated with wildfire prevention and response.”
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The Newsom administration has faced criticism for logistical challenges that have prevented CalFire from spending its wildfire funds. The legislation now requires the agency to report back to the Legislature on the implementation of the funding. The California Farm Bureau had sponsored a similar measure aimed at providing transparency and accountability, which died in committee.
On the housing front, Newsom signed legislation Thursday aimed at boosting the state’s housing supply and that includes $1.75 billion for affordable housing and controversial measures on single-family zoning.