This is the week when Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders are supposed to agree on a more or less final state budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year that begins on Saturday.

The negotiations are being conducted in secret with the main hang-up being the authority Newsom seeks to streamline environmental clearance for some big public works projects, particularly a long-proposed tunnel beneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to enhance water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.

There’s no logical reason for California Environmental Quality Act changes Newsom wants to be part of the budget process, but it continues the Capitol’s bad habit of using the budget for contentious policy changes because it bypasses the scrutiny that most legislation must endure.