‘To me, the alternative here is a bunch of self-interested politicians – a political grab like the greenhouse gas funding,’ Patterson said. ‘The governor owns this. And if he does the right decision-making, we all benefit.’
“Like it or not, this is an executive emergency,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), discussing Monday’s emergency funding authorization by the California Legislature with California Globe. State Lawmakers authorized $500 million to be used to combat COVID-19, and authority for total expenditures up to $1 billion to the Governor. “Imagine 120 executives deciding on this emergency,” he added, referring to the 120 lawmakers in the Legislature all having decision-making authority over the emergency funding.
The perspective is important. Patterson said Gov. Gavin Newsom has the spending authority as the Chief Executive of the state, and that his Executive Order and “reasonable set of spending parameters” within the legislation, Senate Bill 89, lines up with President Trump’s in the face of the Coronavirus crisis.
“The governor asked for the authority, and is constricted by his own Executive Order and declarations,” Patterson explained.
“He has broad, wide discretion to spend,” Patterson said. “And as he spends, he has to notify the Legislature through the Department of Finance, as well as the Joint Budget Conference Committee.”
“To me, the alternative here is a bunch of self-interested politicians – a political grab like the greenhouse gas funding,” Patterson said. “He owns this. And if he does the right decision-making, we all benefit.”
Patterson said that he was on the Assembly floor last evening until 9:30pm. He drove back to Fresno by about 12:30am, and was back up working and on the phone in his office by 8:00am, as was his entire staff.
Assemblyman Patterson explained what he is doing to assist businesses, hospitals and health officials in his district. “I’ve been on the phone with Fresno County board members, the health department, and helping leaders in this area how best to interpret the Executive Order, to align requests for the high probability that we aren’t left behind. I’ve been on the phone with hospital CEOs, helping them understand how to craft requests and responses to get the equipment they need.”
“I’ve never been busier, and my staff is working long hours,” Patterson said.
“Our responsibility as elected lawmakers is to represent the regions of this nation state.”
Patterson said he and his staff discovered that businesses in Fresno were not eligible for Small Business Administration for some reason. “We were effective in bringing it to the attention of the SBA. Everybody in the state of California is now eligible.”
“But imagine if all of these politicians had access to this funding,” Patterson said. “The governor set parameters on himself; he has the authority to spend a big chunk of the funding – $200-$300 million or so – but his Executive Order lines up with Trump’s policies. That is good to me, even with California’s peculiarities.”
“The emergency declarations are all about building capacity, and the governor is supposed to spend within those guidelines,” said Patterson.
“The media’s accountability is to ask:
1) What is the governor doing?
2) How is it lining up with the Trump administration?
3) What are all of the members of the Legislature doing during this recess?”
“I’ll bet most are doing what I am doing,” Patterson said. “Accountability will be by members seeing money disbursed in their districts, aligned with the President’s priorities.”
“I’m serious about the job I do. I believe the governor has put out his own set of expectations, which line up with President Trump’s.”
“This is what representation is all about.”