State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, issued the following statement on the end-of-session budget agreement between the Legislature and Gov. Gavin Newsom, which was approved today by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, for which she is chair:
“These final budget agreements of the 2021 Legislative Session will fund historic investments to fight climate change and protect California’s environment, including billions of dollars for wildfire prevention, climate resilience, sustainable farming practices, and GHG emissions reduction. And we’re tackling the housing crisis with $500 million to support new student housing at colleges throughout the state.”
At today’s hearing, the state Senate Budget Committee approved transformative investments to advance California’s Climate Protection programs, address the ongoing drought, and reduce wildfire risks, including:
- $3.5 billion over three years for Climate Resiliency to restore wetlands, rejuvenate forests, establish community cooling centers, and fund sea level rise protection projects
- $3.9 billion over three years to support the transition to zero emission vehicles, including school and transit buses, trucks, and passenger cars
- Millions of dollars to stop the release of powerfully damaging, but short-lived, climate pollutants, like methane from green waste and agriculture, HFCs in commercial and residential refrigerants, and black carbon from wood smoke and diesel.
- Millions to increase the carbon storage capacity of agricultural soils, grasslands, and grazing lands
- $1.3 billion for water infrastructure to improve wells, water sanitation projects, water recycling, and groundwater clean up
- $1.5 billion ($500M early action, $1B new money) to combat wildfires by improving forest health, expanding local fire crews, and funding prescribed burns and home hardening.
Additionally, the budget bills adopted by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee this evening made an historic investment in student housing, allocating $500 million to the Higher Education Student Housing Grant program to provide grants for affordable student housing projects at the University of California, California State University, and California Community Colleges. And low-income Californians will get relief in another budget bill that will eliminate 17 fees imposed by courts, as well forgive outstanding debt incurred from the fees.
“Today’s budget actions will allow California to maintain its role as a global leader in the battle against climate change, and significantly improve the state’s ability to prevent and combat devastating wildfires,” Sen. Skinner added.
To read more about the budget agreement and its highlights, go here.
Sen. Skinner represents the 9th Senate District, is chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, and is vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.