Legislators push to get funding back for PID

Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher spoke in Paradise today to discuss efforts in holding Governor Newsom accountable for his promises.

Posted: May 26, 2020 7:58 PM
Updated: May 27, 2020 9:24 AM

PARADISE, Calif. - Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher spoke in Paradise Tuesday to discuss efforts in holding Governor Newsom accountable for his promises.

"It's going to be a big fight," Senator Nielsen said.

"It's a state commitment and the state needs to follow through on it and we will hold them to account," Assemblyman Gallagher said.

Northern California legislators are fighting for funds that Governor Gavin Newsom wants to claw back from the Paradise Irrigation District.

"The town does not recover without water," Gallagher said.

Gallagher says Newsom followed through for the first years revenue but has slashed the last $7.3 million from his May revised budget.

"This is not an issue that we play politics with and he has invested a lot in helping us out and now to cut the rug out from under so we go back to nothing," Nielsen said.

Action News Now reached out to Newsom's office. It says the state has to close on a $54 billion Coronavirus budget shortfall. Below is the full statement from the governor's office:

"California must now close a $54 billion budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 recession. More than $13 billion of that shortfall falls In the fiscal year ending six weeks from now. One of the steps required to do that is to redirect money that was put in last year’s budget, but which hasn’t been spent over the past 11 months.

That’s the case here. A total of $14.7 million for this project was approved last June, but only half of that has been spent since then. We’ve proposed redirecting the unspent balance to help close that $13 billion shortfalls in the current year. And we’ve also proposed doing the same thing for other projects across the state where unspent funds this year total more than $200 million.

The immediate necessity to close this shortfall is what drove this proposal – not politics, and not any policy disagreement. And along with the other projects with unspent funds this year, the decision to do this still requires a vote by the Legislature."

PID District Manager, Kevin Phillips, says federal funding helps to fix damages to their system, but they were also relying on this money for daily operations.

"Paradise was a very affordable town and we need to keep it that way," Lori Crowder from Paradise said.

Steve and Lori Crowder just moved back to Paradise and finally have flowing water to their home, Councilman Crowder worries this setback might scare people away.

"If they were on the fence about rebuilding before if there's an idea that they won't have water or it'll be too expensive or what you have you it'll push them the other way and that's not what we need at this point," Crowder said.

"We've done our part and now what we're asking for is for the governor to do his part," Phillips said.

The next step is for the governor and legislative leaders to negotiate the revised budget.

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