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SACRAMENTO – Thursday, both houses of the California Legislature approved the 2019-20 state budget with Assembly Bill 74.

The budget committees held over 90 hearings and spent months crafting the budget. AB 74, aka the Budget Act of 2019, now heads to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk for his consideration.

Health care, education, homelessness and boosting state reserves are just a few of the top priorities in the budget. The Central Valley would also benefit from some of the proposed funding, which includes safe drinking water and Valley Fever research.

The state budget includes:

• $2 million to the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center to support Valley fever research

  • $12 million over three years for the Youth and Family Civic Engagement Initiative
  • $705,000 for three Independent Living Centers (ILC), including ILC of Kern County
  • $40,000 for the California Central Valley Economic Development Corporation
  • $1.1 million for planning of Bakersfield College Delano Center: Learning Resource Center Multi-Purpose Building
  • $1.6 million for planning of West Hills College Lemoore Instructional Center Phase 1
  • $12.5 million one-time General Fund for water quality in the Central Valley, including: $2.5 million to bring communities into compliance with safe drinking water standards and remove arsenic from water in communities such as Arvin in Kern County

“I am pleased to see that the budget includes significant funding for projects and services that benefit the Central Valley, including raising per pupil spending to over $12,000, fully funding the university systems to prevent tuition increases and expand undergraduate enrollment, investing in healthcare workforce to address the severe doctor shortage, providing $2 million for the Valley Fever Institute at Kern Medical Center, and allocating over $130 million to address safe and affordable drinking water,” Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) said in a released statement.

Salas said the budget reflects a collaborative effort to support working families, small businesses, students, seniors and veterans.

Senator Melissa Hurtado (D-Sanger) said the budget agreement demonstrates invaluable leadership in the state.

“I am excited to see several of my budget requests moving towards consideration by the Governor,” she said. “Moreover, I applaud the countless hours of commitment by Senator Pro Tem Toni Atkins and my colleagues on the Conference Committee to deliver for diverse communities throughout our state.”

In regards to Valley fever funding, something Salas has been a champion of, he said it is critical to continue to increase research and expand outreach related to the often devastating infection.

“The world-renowned research team at the Valley Fever Institute continues to be a leader in research, treatment and outreach to improve lives for people here in the Central Valley and across the state,” Salas said. “The funding included in this year’s budget will help ensure that the institute has the resources to expand their efforts and advance their mission to treat, prevent, raise awareness and cure Valley fever.”

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The reporter can be reached at 583-2423 or jzavala@hanfordsentinel.com

News Reporter

News reporter for The Sentinel

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