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Gov. Gavin Newsom's budget advisors alerted California lawmakers this Friday that the state's early response to stop the spread of coronavirus will cost at least $7 billion. This doesn't included the expected additional costs and will all be due before the year's end.
The Legislature's joint budget committee sent a sent with a estimate really giving lawmakers a true look at the impact responding to the pandemic has caused. This estimate does not include any substantial costs use by county and city governments across the state.
“This impact is expected to be immediate, affecting fiscal year 2019-20, and will continue into fiscal year 2020-21 and additional years depending on the pace of recovery of local, state and national economies,” wrote Keely Bosler, the governor’s finance director, in the letter to lawmakers.
Newsom's administration was also able to project that California's unemployment will continue to be record-setting. It so far has already topped 2009's 12.9%.
“Due to the scope of the COVID-19 pandemic, unemployment could peak at a level higher than the Great Recession,” Bosler wrote.
Thankfully, the $7-billion estimate includes the $1 billion already authorized by the Legislature last month. This was the law act lawmakers were able to approve before all hearings and legislative sessions were cancelled by public heath warning. As of right now, the two houses are scheduled to meet again in Sacramento as early as May 4. They are expected to have two coronavirus-related hearing before then.
Of the $1 billion that was approved, the Newsom's advisers estimated that around $362 million of it has already been spent. This went towards prevention programs focused on the homeless population and California's share of the COVID-19 services taking place at a hospital near downtown Los Angeles.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to prove how much damage is causes daily. In modern times, there has no been no other crisis that has hit California's finances or more deeply. The $7 billion in costs will all be due before June 30.
Lawmakers claimed that most of the money will be spent on personal protective equipment for healthcare and emergency workers.
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