PALM DESERT – The California state budget, signed by Gov. Newsom on Monday, includes $47 million to implement Salton Sea projects both in the southern and northern portions of the Salton Sea.
“This is a big win for the Salton Sea, Imperial County and our Riverside County communities,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “I am pleased that we continue to move forward on the Salton Sea, and help get a project started for the north end. I thank Governor Newsom, as well as the great advocacy of Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia, and Salton Sea coalition partners, for maintaining critical support for the Salton Sea, especially during these challenging times.”
The state budget allocates $28 million to implement the New River Improvement Plan to protect vulnerable communities from exposure to the New River, a dangerously polluted waterway that flows north across the United States-Mexico border, through the city of Calexico, to the Salton Sea.
The budget also includes $19.25 million for the North Lake Pilot Project. The Salton Sea Authority will design and build a first section of deep water recreational habitat for the Perimeter Lake along the northern shoreline of the Salton Sea.
As a state legislator, Perez authored Assembly Bill 1079 (2009-2010) to initiate the New River Improvement Project and facilitate the clean-up of the New River, as well as AB 71 (2013-2014) which required the state to work in partnership with the local jurisdictions of the Salton Sea Authority.
Last week, Supervisor Perez was named vice chair of the Salton Sea Authority board of directors for the term beginning July 1. Imperial Irrigation District Vice President Alex Cardenas will serve as chair of the Salton Sea Authority.
“Despite the fiscal consequences of the global pandemic, our state has passed a balanced budget that maintains funding to priority services and safety-net programs and continues to plan for future economic uncertainty. I am grateful to the Governor, Speaker Rendon, and Pro Tem Atkins for their leadership. Together, we have demonstrated our commitment to meet the immediate needs of Californians,” Garcia said in a statement.
“Five years ago, we made this our mission, and now with the Governor’s signature, we have secured over $47 million for New River and Salton Sea mitigation projects. Protecting these critical local environmental and public health priorities from cuts during these difficult times is a major victory for our district. More than ever, we must advance projects that safeguard public health, improve environmental conditions, and bring economic relief to our most vulnerable areas.”
The New River Improvement Project in Calexico will receive a total of $28 million to commence with clean-up; $18 million coming from the General Fund, and $10 million from Proposition 68. The North Lake Project, part of the Salton Sea Management Plan, will receive $19,250,000 from our Proposition 68 funds for habitat and air quality improvement along the receding shoreline.
“The final budget approved $50 million to the Air Pollution Control Fund for implementation of our AB 617 (C. Garcia, E. Garcia), Community Air Protection Program. This past December, the Eastern Coachella Valley joined Imperial Valley as an AB 617 grant eligible area, and our community will have an opportunity to identify emission reduction priorities, submit a plan, and apply for these funds,” Garcia said in a statement.
“The UC Riverside School of Medicine will receive $25 million to expand enrollment and increase operational support. These educational investments will go a long way in helping to bridge regional health disparities.”
“Building on previous state investments to address homelessness, the budget extends $300 million for round two of the Homeless Housing, Assistance, and Prevention (HHAP) program to further assist our local cities and counties. This budget additionally establishes Project Room Key an emergency housing program. Ensuring that all Californians have a safe place to call home is an issue that predated this pandemic and has become all the more urgent in upholding the health, dignity, and safety of our communities.”
Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia also noted the following budget highlights:
- $5.3 billion to mitigate learning loss and support the immediate needs of students and schools impacted by the pandemic.
- $395 million available for Safe Neighborhood Parks Development Program.
- $31 million to Judicial Council for tenant legal aid.
- $15 million one time General Fund for emergency financial aid for AB 540 students.
- $10 million to establish a Social Entrepreneurs for Economic Development (SEED) initiative to provide micro-grants and entrepreneurial training to disadvantaged groups who face significant barriers to employment.
- Preserves senior programs: In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) and Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP).
- Expands California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) to those with Individual Taxpayer Identification Number with at least one child age six or younger.
This budget plan continues to fortify our state in the event of further financial uncertainty by leaving billions of General Fund reserves and the Rainy Day Fund.
More information on the 2020 Budget Act can be found at www.ebudget.ca.gov.
- Supervisor V. Manuel Perez: Supervisor V. Manuel Perez
- Eduardo Garcia: Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia
- Salton Sea: Shutterstock