California lawmakers from both parties on Friday criticized Gov. Gavin Newsom’s coronavirus spending, telling officials he had misused emergency authority they gave him at the start of the outbreak in March.
“With this pandemic, what you’ve done, is stretch the scope to do anything,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee.
Ting and other lawmakers scrutinized Newsom’s spending on coronavirus-related contracts at a special oversight hearing, where the California Department of Finance disclosed plans to increase the state’s projected COVID-19 costs by another $5.7 billion.
Lawmakers received a letter detailing the projected expenses Thursday evening, which included budgeting for personal protective equipment and hospital surge capacity.
Newsom’s May budget revision also requested the Legislature add another $2.9 billion to an emergency reserve account so the administration could quickly access money needed to mitigate a potential fall resurgence of COVID-19.