Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to take office on Monday with an ambitious — and potentially costly —agenda that has raised concerns from some taxpayer groups.
Newsom, who will replace longtime Gov. Jerry Brown, will take over the nation's most populous state when it is enjoying a large surplus. He also will have a Democratic-led supermajority in both houses of the state Legislature, meaning they will have the power to pass new taxes or overrule a governor's veto.
However, Newsom campaigned on a laundry list of costly policy items that include expanded health care, more education funding, and big plans for solving the state's housing and homeless crisis.
"If you look at the list of promises he has made — including universal preschool, a guarantee of free community college, universal health care and single-payer healthcare — we're talking tens of billions, if not hundreds of billions of dollars of promises," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, the state's largest taxpayer group.
"During Gov. Brown's administration, his office seemed to be the brake, if you will, or the deterrent against the more radical elements within the California Legislature," Coupal added. "We don't see that moving forward, and so we are very concerned."
Newsom, currently the state's lieutenant governor, declined comment to CNBC. He is scheduled to take the oath of office as California's governor on Monday, and is required under the state constitution to present a new state budget by Jan. 10.
California's recent annual budget was a $201.4 billion plan signed into law last June by Brown, a Democrat who has expressed the need for fiscal restraint. Brown is departing the governorship as California is forecast to have about $14 billion in the state's rainy day fund, and several billions in surplus.
"The outgoing governor has already intimated that we are likely moving toward a recession," said Sherry Bebitch Jeffe, a longtime political analyst and retired professor of public-policy communication at the University of Southern California. "So there might be a risk involved in addressing a heavy spending agenda."