SACRAMENTO (CBSLA/AP) — California Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a the $329 billion budget plan Friday that includes providing emergency housing for the homeless and health care for 27,000 older immigrants in the country illegally.
With the Legislative Analyst’s Office projecting another $7 billion dollar surplus, the budget proposal for fiscal year 2020-21 is focused largely on the state’s growing homeless crisis, including $750 million to create a new California Access to Housing and Services Fund.
As part of the plan, Newsom has also issued an executive order requiring “to make available state properties and facilities to rapidly increase housing and shelter options” by the end of this month.
The order also tasks the Department of General Services with identifying state-owned land to temporarily house the homeless and makes available up to 100 camp trailers to be used as “temporary housing” along with mobile health and social services clinics.
“The State of California is treating homelessness as a real emergency – because it is one. Californians are demanding that all levels of government – federal, state and local – do more to get people off the streets and into services – whether that’s housing, mental health services, substance abuse treatment or all of the above,” said Newsom. “That’s why we’re using every tool in the toolbox – from proposing a massive new infusion of state dollars in the budget that goes directly to homeless individuals’ emergency housing and treatment programs, to building short-term emergency housing on vacant state-owned land.”
The budget also including $80.5 million to expand eligibility for Medi-Cal benefits to everyone aged 65 and older regardless of their immigration status starting no sooner than Jan. 2021.
California last year became the first state to offer full health benefits to low-income adults 25 and younger living in the country illegally. Newsom’s proposal continues to California at odds with the federal government’s immigration policies.
The immigrants would have to be Medicaid-eligible to get the money under his proposed budget that has a $5.6 billion surplus and includes $21 billion in reserves for an inevitable economic downturn.
California could skirt high prescription prices by becoming the first state in the nation to have its own generic drug label as part of the state’s new budget plan.
California is the most populous state in the nation, so Newsom is aiming at lowering drug prices by creating a single market, forcing companies to bid to sell their medicine at a uniform price.
“Other countries control or negotiate the price of drugs, and if there is one state that could do it, it’s California, which is the size of a country,” said Larry Levitt, executive vice president of health policy for the Kaiser Family Foundation. “A drug company could walk away from Rhode Island. It’s much harder to walk away from California.”
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)