90.1 FM San Luis Obispo | 91.7 FM Paso Robles | 91.1 FM Cayucos | 95.1 FM Lompoc | 90.9 FM Avila
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Newsom's proposed budget slashes public health funding; could threaten jobs and safety programs

The County of Monterey Public Health Department Building.
The County of Monterey Public Health Department Building.

Governor Gavin Newsom's proposed budget includes a $300 million cut in public health funding.

At a virtual press conference with other public health officials, Monterey County Health Director Elsa Jimenez expressed concern that these cuts could threaten some programs.

Jimenez said state funding has been crucial for her department’s response to public health emergencies, including a recent avian flu outbreak.

“We expanded our laboratory, epidemiology and public health preparedness efforts by adding an assistant laboratory director, a supervising public health epidemiologist and a chronic disease prevention coordinator,” Jimenez said.

The proposed funding cut could affect 24 full-time local jobs. Statewide, 1,253 proposed new positions aimed at improving staffing shortages in public health could also lose out.

The funding also supports Monterey County's Healthy Housing Program, which monitors homes for health and safety hazards like mold.

Jimenez noted that these cuts would force the program back into a reactive mode, where it only addresses issues after receiving complaints.

She said this could harm the health of many low-income residents, many of whom are BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).

“Many of our BIPOC residents, with the high cost of living in our community, are forced to live with two, three, four, five families, even in certain houses,” Jimenez said. “We would hate to go back to a reactive phase, as opposed to being proactive and helping to ensure that they live in safe and healthy housing.”

Newsom’s proposed budget cuts are to eliminate a projected $27.6 billion deficit.

KCBX Reporter Amanda Wernik graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo with a BS in Journalism. Amanda is currently a fellow with the USC Center for Health Journalism, completing a data fellowship that will result in a news feature series to air on KCBX in the winter of 2024.
Related Content