California GOP lawmakers slam Newsom-backed budget as unsustainable, say Republicans left out of negotiations


California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a budget intended to close an estimated $46.8 billion deficit, but multiple Republican lawmakers say they were left out of negotiations. 

Lawmakers passed the budget Wednesday after an agreement between Newsom and legislative leaders in which both sides made concessions and gained some wins.

The budget aims to close the deficit through $16 billion in spending cuts and temporarily raising taxes on some businesses.

Newsom praised the budget as “responsible” and said it prepared “for the future while investing in foundational programs that benefit millions of Californians every day.” 

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks to reporters after a presidential debate between President Biden and Republican presidential candidate former President Trump in Atlanta, Thursday, June 27, 2024.  (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Thanks to careful stewardship of the budget over the past few years, we’re able to meet this moment while protecting our progress on housing, homelessness, education, health care and other priorities that matter deeply to Californians,” Newsom said. 

But some Republicans say they were left out of negotiations altogether. Republican Senator Roger Niello of Fair Oaks, Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review, derided the budget as “the majority party’s budget.” He told Fox News Digital he only learned of the budget in an X post. 

GOV GAVIN NEWSOM MTP

Gov. Gavin Newsom joined NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024. (Screenshot/NBC)

“This budget certainly reflects the majority party’s priorities, but it ignores the priorities of eight million residents of this state because none of my Republican colleagues were involved in development of the budget,” Niello said. 

The Republican lawmaker also called the budget package “nominally balanced but not sustainable.” 

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It fails to rein in the past decade of irresponsible growth in government spending,” Niello said. “It relies on budget gimmicks, draws down our savings, and saddles future generations with debt.”

Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones of San Diego argued that California residents who are represented by a Republican in the legislature have effectively been denied a voice. 

“Each senator, whether Democrat or Republican, in California represents almost a million people and those million people each should have a voice on what happens in the legislature regarding the budget,” Niello said. 

He accused his Democratic colleagues of playing “shadow games with accounting” rather than “being responsible with California’s checkbook.” 

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State Capitol Aerial view of California Capitol in Sacramento. Lawmakers on Friday advanced a bill that would allow killer serving life without parole to petition for re-sentencing.  (Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

They shifted, swept and shuffled money around, stealing it from disabled kids and taking money from a host of necessary services to fund unneeded social experiments and pet projects,” he said. “It’s unfathomable. But it’s real.”

The deficit was about $32 billion in 2023 before growing even bigger this year, with more deficits projected for the future in the nation’s most populous state. 

Saturday’s signing came just two years after Newsom and Democratic lawmakers were boasting about surpluses that totaled more than $100 billion, the product of hundreds of billions of dollars of federal COVID-19 aid and a progressive tax code that produced a windfall of revenue from the state’s wealthiest residents.

But those revenue spikes did not last as inflation slowed the economy, contributing to rising unemployment and a slowdown in the tech industry that has driven much of the state’s growth. The Newsom administration then badly miscalculated how much money California would have last year after a seven-month delay in the tax filing deadline.

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The budget includes an agreement that Newsom and lawmakers will try to change the state constitution to let California put more money in reserve for future shortfalls.

Fox News Digital reached out to Newsom’s office but did not hear back.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 



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