Hear governor Gavin Newsom’s 2019 state budget proposal
Most Californians support Gov. Gavin Newsom’s first budget proposal, especially his plans to increase funding for early childhood and higher education, according to a survey by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.
The survey found seven in 10 California adults support the $209 billion spending plan Newsom unveiled last month. It represents his opening proposal for negotiations with the Legislature that will continue through June, the deadline for them to reach a deal.
His education proposals were especially popular, with more than three-fourths of respondents favoring his plans for children and college students.
Newsom has proposed nearly $2 billion in spending on early learning programs. That money would go to expanding the state’s preschool and kindergarten programs. It would also expand state-subsidized child care programs and increase home visits and developmental screenings for infants.
Newsom’s plans for higher education include making two years of community college free for first-time students enrolled full-time and increasing financial aid opportunities.
Nearly half of survey respondents ranked k-12 education as their highest spending priority, followed by nearly a third who wanted to focus health and human services and 16 percent who said higher education. Just 4 percent of respondents said prisons and corrections should be the highest priority.
Nearly a fifth of likely voters cited immigration as the top issue they want Newsom and the Legislature to tackle this year. Immigration was the most popular response to that part of the survey, followed by education, the economy, the environment and homelessness.
Newsom has a 44 percent approval rating, according to the survey. Respondents were polled when Newsom had been in office for less than a month, and 33 percent said they didn’t yet have an opinion on how he’s doing.
The survey found the Legislature has a 49 percent approval rating.
About half of respondents said they expect the state’s economy will do well over the next year.
Newsom is taking office at a moment when the state is projected to accumulate a $14.8 billion surplus and fill reserves with another $16 billion. He’s highlighted his commitment to build up the state’s reserves to avoid painful cuts during a recession.