BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Assemblyman and vice chair of the Assembly Budget Committee Vince Fong released a statement responding to Governor Gavin Newsom’s announcement Monday criticizing that the spending Newsom’s budget is planned for may be misdirected and might not have the desired impacts on Californian’s everyday lives.

Monday, Newsom announced his intention to give $83 million to CSU Bakersfield for research on how to help oil and gas workers transition into new careers as the state reduces its use of fossil fuels. 

The governor’s proposed budget would also allot $250 million to helping those workers train for and find new jobs outside the oil extraction industries.

All together, that’s a third of a billion dollars directed primarily toward enabling Kern County to wean itself from an industry that’s been part of the local culture and economy for 125 years.

“Governor Newsom and Sacramento Democrats have fallen into the false mindset that simply more spending equates to success. The mentality that success is defined by how much is spent instead of by real, measurable, and actual results is mindboggling,” Fong said.

The Kern County economy relies heavily on the oil industry, which has faced unprecedented restrictions over the past two-plus years as Sacramento has worked toward ambitious climate change mitigation goals.

Newsom also pledged $300 million toward boosting law enforcement efforts to combat retail theft and a $2.7 billion coronavirus response package.

Fong said in the statement that it is important to put taxpayer dollars towards programs that will effectively benefit the taxpayers rather than making political statements.

“While the Governor makes political headlines, every day Californians are overtaxed and are struggling to afford to live and work in our state,” Fong said in his statement. “Parents are concerned about their children. Homelessness is on the rise. Small businesses are stressed. Crime is increasing. Water storage is desperately needed. Communities face a never ending wildfire season. There’s an endless list of crises. Californians are rightfully frustrated.”

Fong added state programs should be evaluated by the impacts they have, not by their price tags or by the headlines they make.

“Overtaxed Californians should keep more of their hard earned money,” Fong said. “Precious tax dollars need to be spent wisely and effectively to serve those in need.”