The Senate’s nine Republicans are calling on the Democrats controlling the Legislature and governor’s office to use the anticipated $31 billion surplus to provide economic and drought relief to Californians.
The tax revenue has been so large this year that policy analysts expect it will trigger a rarely deployed policy known as the Gann limit. That means the state must return a portion of the funds directly to taxpayers or spend it on certain priorities, such as education and infrastructure.
Building more surface water storage topped the Republicans’ list of requests. They charge that building new facilities like the Sites Reservoir and fixing conveyance canals would help the state prepare for long-term drought.
“This will provide water storage for 1.5 million homes per year and promote much-needed water access for California’s food producers,” they wrote in a letter.
They are also urging a gas tax holiday and for the state to pay down pandemic-related debt for employers.
Budget negotiations will begin in earnest next week, after Gov. Gavin Newsom releases his initial budget proposal for the year.