By WUD Government Affairs Team
Last week, Governor Newsom unveiled a $297 billion budget plan outlined in his January 2023-24 State Budget proposal. With the state anticipating a $22.5 billion budget shortfall, the Governor’s budget proposes a number of budget cuts, shifts, and funding delays given the anticipated revenue shortfalls. The plan represents a stark contrast on the state’s fiscal and economic position and is reflective of declining budget revenues given the state’s reliance on capital gains tax revenues that are tied to housing and stock market conditions.
Despite the budget shortfall, the Governor has avoided major cuts to core programs and budget priorities and maintains funding in some key areas of policy for dairy farmers, including increasing access to fresh and locally grown dairy products in schools, funding for methane reduction programs, and implementation of the “LandFlex” program championed by WUD. The release of the January budget proposal kicks off negotiations between the Governor’s Office and the Legislature through the budget subcommittee hearing process, the release of the “May Revise” budget plan, and final negotiations and passage of a state budget plan by June 15, 2023.
WUD participated in a CDFA-hosted budget briefing outlining the core agriculture-related budget items and are pleased to see that many of the programs the organization has fought hard to secure in previous budget years, including the “Farm-to-School” program, the Livestock Methane Reduction Programs, Enteric Methane Reduction Research, and the FARMER program. New priority programs, such as “LandFlex” program to address drought response, was funded in this year’s budget at $50 million – a significant accomplishment for WUD’s advocacy efforts.