Today, Governor Newsom proposed the California State Budget for fiscal year 2022-2023 with major proposals targeting COVID-19 and Climate Change. In response, California leaders with the American Lung Association issued the following statements:
Erica Costa, California Advocacy Director:
We are pleased that the Governor has identified defeating COVID-19 as the top priority for the state in this year’s budget. With over 67 million vaccines and boosters administered, 124 million tests processed and 6,000 testing sites in California, $11.6 billion has been invested into ending COVID-19 over the past year. An additional $2.7 billion will be invested into further testing and expanded vaccination efforts. We look forward to seeing continued investment in defeating the pandemic and placing public health as the top priority for the state.
In addition, investments related to lung health are promising, specifically $2.8 billion allocated for the CalAIM program (California Advancing and Innovating Medi-Cal), which includes programs to help support asthma trigger remediation efforts. Under the CalAIM “In Lieu of Services” option, managed care organizations have the option of providing non-medical services “in lieu of” traditional services to improve health, including asthma trigger remediation services. Due to the pandemic, this program was tabled last year, and so we are pleased to see it included in this year’s budget and believe this investment in improving lung health is a step in the right direction.
Will Barrett, National Senior Director, Clean Air Advocacy:
The Governor’s budget underscores that major investments are needed to cut air pollution, address climate change and ensure more equitable protection from both. Transportation is the leading source of harmful air and climate pollution in California, and a major source of health disparities. We see strong proposals in state and local public health climate readiness, equitable investment in zero-emission infrastructure and transportation – including $1.5 billion for electric school buses – and a heavy emphasis on building healthier, more sustainable communities where residents can safely enjoy walking and biking.
California has long been seen as a leader in championing healthy air, and this budget will advance this important cause. The budget proposal seeks to further align almost $15 billion in state transportation funding with pollution reduction goals, while also putting another $6 billion in motion to target the health benefits of zero-emission vehicles transportation to communities most impacted by pollution today. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislative leaders to bring these important health protections home to all Californians.