California Legislators Settle on $125 Billion Budget

The eighth largest economy in the world requires a lot of money to function properly. California lawmakers have agreed to a $125 billion budget, which will have to be funded with higher taxes on gasoline and increases in vehicle registration fees.

Now that the budget has been debated and passed, Governor Jerry Brown will wait for the legislature to approve certain bills to be implemented this year with the hope to increase state revenue. There are five major points of contention:

Traffic Tickets and License Suspensions

Traffic violations are among the major sources of revenue generation for California, and they will be in focus during this legislative session. The current provision of suspending driver's licenses if a fine is not paid is being contested by some lawmakers who argue that it is better to keep drivers on the road when they cannot afford to pay a traffic ticket.

Prescription Medication Costs

A group of lawmakers would like to introduce measures to prevent the sudden increase of prices in certain prescription medications. Another bill hopes to restrict the issuance of coupons from major pharmaceutical brands for their medications; the argument is that this puts too much pressure on manufacturers of generic drugs.

Anti-Trump Policies

California Democrats have introduced more than a dozen bills that are in clear opposition to the policies proposed or enacted by United States President Donald Trump. One of the bills would essentially transform California into a sanctuary state where immigratio agents would not be able to get help from local police and would not be able to raid a workplace without warrants. The Golden State is home to a few municipalities that have lost federal funding because of their status as sanctuary cities, and they are now dependent on the state budget.

Cap-and-Trade

The current limit on carbon emissions has been surpassed by industrial firms that feel comfortable paying the fines involved, but this limitation is at risk of not being extended. In this sense, California Republicans fear that local businesses may move out of state if their emission costs are too high.

Housing Supply

California is quickly running out of affordable homes even as the state economy continues to grow. Land acquisition is not an issue, but the state needs to provide some funding to build affordable housing communities, and one idea that has been proposed is to add $75 to the real estate transfer process, which in California is more expensive than in the rest of the nation.


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