May Revision of California Budget Boosts Flood Control Support

Brian GermanAgri-Business, Funding

May Revision

Governor Gavin Newsom released the May Revision of the 2023-24 State Budget last week. California is currently facing a $31.5 billion shortfall after enjoying a $97.5 billion budget surplus last year. Nonetheless, Governor Newsom seeks to bolster flood protection and response investments. The revised budget includes $290 million in new flood proposals. That is in addition to the $202 million already proposed back in January.

The bolstered flood response funding includes increased support for the California Small Agricultural Business Drought Relief Grant Program. The program would be expanded in scope to help support agriculture-related businesses impacted by recent storms. Governor Newsom proposes an additional $25 million from the General Fund for the program. The May Revision also includes a $40 million one-time General Fund for San Joaquin Floodplain Restoration. In preparation for additional flooding potential from snowmelt runoff, an additional $25 million is being set aside for disaster response. Local flood control projects would also be bolstered by an increase of $75 million in support.

The May Revision makes several cuts in other areas impacting the agricultural sector. A roughly 11 percent decline in climate investments is laid out in the proposal. Funding allocations have shifted away from drought concerns to be applied to flooding issues. A reduction of $125 million is being taken from drought contingency funds. Of particular importance to farmers, the LandFlex program is facing a 50 percent cut in support. The Department of Water Resources awarded $25 million in the first round of grants through Agriculture and Delta Drought Response Program known as LandFlex. Governor Newsom proposes to cut the remaining $25 million that was allocated for the program in the 2022 Budget Act.

Negotiations between Governor Newsom and the state Legislature will now begin. The budget will need to be passed by June 15, with the new fiscal year beginning July 1.

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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West