Newsom Uses Funding as Threat Over COVID-19 Mandates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom says he could withhold up to $2.5 billion in the upcoming state budget from local governments that fail to comply with mandates intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The funding threat comes as California sees a worrisome rise in the number of virus cases and hospitalizations, and some counties are openly flaunting Newsom’s statewide order to wear masks.

Much of the funding comes from the federal coronavirus aid package, intended to help local governments hit hard by the pandemic.

Assemblyman James Gallagher, a Republican critic of the governor’s orders, says Newsom is holding federal funds hostage.