VIDEO: California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday pledged fresh investments to prevent, fight and escape wildfires, including millions to help local governments improve their communication during emergencies and a fee to fund an update for the state’s 911 system.
At a fire station in the fire-prone Sierra Nevada foothills, Newsom outlined $105 million in new fire-related spending on top of $200 million approved by lawmakers last year. Clad in jeans and sneakers and surrounded by emergency responders and local leaders, Newsom said it was a symbolic and substantive choice to focus on wildfires on his first full day as governor.
“I place no greater emphasis, energy and sense of urgency on the issue of public safety,” he said.
Newsom said the budget will include tens of millions of dollars to make up for three years worth of property tax losses in Butte and Lake Counties, which have been hit by multiple fires in recent years.
He’ll also put $10 million toward digitizing the state’s 911 system, which is still analog. But he said a full digitization will likely require a fee on consumers, something the Legislature tried and failed to pass last year.