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IT Projects, Broadband to Benefit from California’s $310B Budget

Gov. Gavin Newsom this week signed Senate Bill 101 omnibus, formalizing the approval of the $310.8 billion state budget. The legislation outlines hundreds of millions for broadband expansion and IT efforts in the state.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom
California has a newly signed state budget with hundreds of millions of dollars in tech spend, just days ahead of the end of the 2022-2023 Fiscal Year.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday signed the Legislature-approved state Senate Bill 101 omnibus from Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, formalizing the approval of the $310.8 billion state budget before July 1, the start of FY 2023-24. As of this writing, there’s still no completed, enacted budget available on the state’s public website, but there is considerable good news for IT vendors and technologists alike, particularly around broadband. Among the tech funding in the new budget:

  • $428 million for broadband deployment in support of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). That includes $253 million for completing and supporting last-mile broadband infrastructure. There’s also $175 million transferred to the Broadband Loan Loss Reserve Fund on order of the Department of Finance (DOF) to pay costs related to financing broadband infrastructure deployment by local governments or nonprofits. The last-mile funding must be available for CPUC allocation until Dec. 31, 2026, and for encumbrance, expenditure and liquidation until Dec. 31, 2028. (Numbers throughout this article are rounded.)
  • $300 million for the Middle-Mile Broadband Initiative (MMBI), available to be encumbered or spent through Dec. 31, 2026, and liquidation through Dec. 31, 2028, for state operations, local assistance and capital outlay expenditures. This includes $700,000 for planning and consulting to develop a statewide Unified Integrated Risk Management system. Terms specify the California Department of Technology (CDT) must report on MMBI by March 1, 2024, and quarterly afterward, to relevant budget and policy subcommittees in the Legislature, to the Legislative Budget Committee and to the Legislative Analyst’s Office. The report must include total middle-mile broadband miles leased or to be leased by counties; the total miles built or to be built as standalone projects by the California Department of Transportation; and the miles to be built jointly by Caltrans and counties.
  • $66.6 million for the California Department of Social Services for the Child Welfare Services-California Automated Response and Engagement System (CWS-CARES) project, contingent on approval of project documents by DOF and CDT. The funding may be increased by up to $35.1 million for implementation and data infrastructure contracts on approval by DOF with CDT.
  • $20 million for the Chancellor of California Community Colleges to increase courses made available by technology, to provide other methods for students to earn college credit, and to support the California Virtual Campus distance education program. The money can be used to pay for a “consistent learning management system” to help implement the program. The chancellor must ensure, as much as possible, that courses can be articulated across all community college districts, made available to students throughout the system regardless of campus; that students who complete the courses get credit, and that the money funds courses with the highest demand, which fill up quickly and are prerequisites for many different degrees.
  • $3.4 million for the Department of Motor Vehicles for the Enterprise Content Management project. Stage 4 of the initiative’s Project Approval Lifecycle Process must be approved by CDT before the money is released.
  • Up to $4 million from the Federal Trust Fund for the California Department of Technology. According to the budget act, this is a reappropriation, and available to be encumbered or spent until June 30, 2024.
This article was originally published by Industry Insider — California, Government Technology's sister publication.
Theo Douglas is assistant managing editor for Industry Insider — California, and before that was a staff writer for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes covering municipal, county and state governments, business and breaking news. He has a Bachelor's degree in Newspaper Journalism and a Master's in History, both from California State University, Long Beach.