California Gov. Newsom reportedly deciding what to do with $200 billion in surplus tax funds

California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday will tell everyone how he wants to spend more than $200 billion of taxpayer money over the next year as he presents the first version of his annual budget proposal to the state Legislature.

The Democratic governor’s budget proposal is the first step in the complex process of spending the hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes Californians and businesses pay each year.

Newsom has pledged to spend $300 million on boosting law enforcement efforts to combat retail theft and another $2.7 billion to spend on items such as coronavirus testing and hospital staffing. But that’s only a tiny fraction of the state’s budget, which last year surpassed $260 billion. Newsom has disclosed little else about what he wants to do.

In November, the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office predicted California would have at least a $31 billion surplus this year. Newsom’s budget proposal will likely show a much bigger surplus because his administration often uses a different definition of what counts as a surplus.

The revenue surge is despite California consistently having one of the highest unemployment rates in the country for much of last year.

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