Newsom Budget Enmeshes Government More in Our Lives

January 11, 2022 Updated: January 11, 2022


If you look beyond the numbers, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2022-23, which begins on July 1, 2022, further enmeshes government in the lives of everyone in the state. At his Monday announcement, the governor was ebullient about the $213 billion in general-fund spending. As in previous budget announcements, he spoke in detail for more than 90 minutes.

The proposed budget does “balance,” with a $45.7 billion surplus, if you ignore the more than $250 billion in unfunded liabilities the state still has for pensions and retiree medical care. But the extra money goes largely to more government programs that control our lives, or to tax credits for actions such as buying electric cars that coerce people in a direction desired by the governor.

The main area for prodding us is the environment. He touted his executive order banning selling internal-combustion vehicles in the state by 2035. “This is dramatic, this is profound,” he enthused.

To move people to electric cars, he announced one of several new programs in the budget, Climate on the Move, “a $10 billion state, sub-national commitment for two years on zero emission vehicles.” This will, among other things, install charging stations for all the new electric cars we’re supposed to buy.

There also will be a new state Climate Corps, “the first in the nation, part of the Build Back Better program” of President Biden, assuming that ever gets past the roadblocks from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Newsom said Biden is trying for a National Climate Corps, but California got there first.

“This is the reason so many zero-emission vehicles companies are moving here,” he said, an apparent reference to such companies as Rivian Electric Adventure Vehicles, as the company fashions itself, based in Irvine. Its R1T recently won Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year Award. Despite a recent stock plunge, its market capitalization on Monday was $73 billion. That’s compared to the $65 billion for Stellantis, the global vehicle company and parent of Chrysler.

However, Newsom didn’t mention the Big Daddy of electric car companies, Tesla—market capitalization of $1.1 trillion—recently announced it was leaving for Austin, Tex.

“We are quadrupling down,” an almost giddy Newsom said of his new efforts. “We hope to inspire other states and countries. We need to do more as we lead into the future.”

Education Spending Explosion

This is the 34th state budget I’ve worked on, and the most eye-popping number was not the so-called surplus, but Newsom boasting the per-pupil spending for education now is $20,855. That was almost triple the $7,171 number a decade ago.

Folks I know in public education tell me a common classroom includes about 35 students. So 35 * $20,855 = $729,925 per classroom.

Throw in local spending, especially from the frequent school bonds voters almost always approve, and it’s even higher.

And keep that $729,925 number in mind when schools officials and unions insist they need more money from tax increases.

But as with private industry, Newsom wants the gusher of cash to subsidize approved behaviors. First, he wants to spend $4 billion, including $1 billion from this budget, on universal pre-kindergarten, long a demand of the teachers unions. “It’s no longer K-12. It’s pre-K to 12,” he said.

He also wants to spend $4.3 billion for after-school programs and “six weeks of enrichment in the summer.”

And he wants to give every student two free meals a day, regardless of income. Supposedly that’s to avoid the stigma subsidized students suffer.

Newsom also wants more spent to “re-imagine children’s behavioral health,” with $4 billion total for implementation, including $1.4 billion last year and $1.5 billion for next year. He was right to be concerned about the mental ramifications on the kids of COVID-19. But he was the one responsible for locking the kids out of the schools for far too long.

Will this become just another Critical Race Theory brainwashing program? And shouldn’t students’ mental struggles better be handled by family members, private physicians and clergy?

Add up the programs. Students will be going to school, including after-school programs, most of the day, almost the whole year long and eating most of their meals there in between having their minds readjusted. When will they see their families? It’s the replacement of the family with the government.

Newsom called it the “Two Generation / Whole Family Agenda,” explaining, “You invest in the parents, just as you invest in the kids.”

Universal Health Care

California will become “the first state to achieve universal access to health care” under his budget, Newsom said. This will include “full implementation to all low-income Californians, regardless of immigration status.”

The implementation date is pegged for January 2024. For this budget, the cost is $614 million. When fully implemented, it will be $2.2 billion a year.

This is also a long-term goal of the public employee unions. And it will fend off such proposals as Assembly Bill 1400, sponsored by the socialist California Nurses Association, for a single-payer health system that would cost up to $170 billion a year in new taxes.

The Good News

There are a couple good things in the budget. For the Proposition 51 school bond from 2016, the final $1.4 billion will be allocated. Newsom said it should be studied whether a new bond should be put to voters, meaning it probably won’t be. “We’re trying to go more cash, avoid bonds,” he said.

Due to inflation, he wants to pause the mandated gas-tax increase, saving motorists $523 million. But money to repair and build roads still will be spent, “backfilled” from the surplus. Better to have cancelled the tax increase permanently. But motorists—ironically driving the gas-guzzlers he wants to eliminate—sure will appreciate the relief.

He also addressed spending more on items big in the news: $2.7 billion on wildfires, $2.3 billion on ports infrastructure, $285 million fighting crime and, of course, $2.7 billion more on “fighting COVID with Science.”

To sum it up, the governor is using the surplus to push the government ever further into our lives. Approved activities will be subsidized, disapproved ones penalized. Everyone, especially children, will be roped into even more government programs, their lives micromanaged. There was close to nothing about just giving us back the tax money we after all earned, and letting us deal with our own health, education, welfare, families, and even food.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Seiler
John Seiler is a veteran California opinion writer. He has written editorials for The Orange County Register for almost 30 years. He is a U.S. Army veteran and former press secretary for California state Sen. John Moorlach. He blogs at