Assemblymember Chris Holden discusses local budget issues with city council

Story by Sofia Alva
Staff Writer

Photo by Katelyn Hernandez
Staff Photographer

Assemblymember Chris Holden gave a special update on the current state of the coronavirus pandemic and the state’s plans at the city council’s meeting on Wednesday, May 27. 

Assemblymember Holden outlined California’s statewide budget and response to the current economic crisis. He shared with the council that California is currently projected to lose 54.3 billion dollars from the 2019-2020 budget. To combat this, California Governor Gavin Newsom has proposed a 3.5 billion dollar decrease from the K-12 education fund while still providing districts with 4.4 billion dollars from the discretionary funds. 

Another state effort, Project Room Key, is a 750 million dollar federally funded project to purchase hotels and motels to be operated by local governments and nonprofits. This, alongside a 14 billion dollar loan from the federal government, is expected to aid in California’s financial stability.

“As of today the state of California is projected to spend roughly 8.6 billion in direct COVID-19 related expenditures,” Holden said. “These costs include our response to a number of program areas such as education, public health, and homelessness.” 

In addition, the state’s Federal Reserve MLF that was established in April 2020 will assist state and local governments that are experiencing cash flow pressures due to the coronavirus. The facility is authorized to purchase up to 500 billion dollars of short-term notes directly from all 50 states to benefit California cities like South Pas. 

Holden also touched on how he and his team have been working with CalTrans to assist and expedite the process of the Affordable Sales Program and the regulations are currently being reviewed by the legal department at CalTrans. CalTrans has continued to hold on to the city’s applications for months, which Holden attributed to the legal division’s slow review. However, Holden and his team have given the city a direct point of contact with CalTrans in hopes to speeding the process.

The next city council meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 3.

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