Statements on California’s 2014-15 State Budget

Western Center On Law and Poverty

On the day after the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, Governor Brown’s 2014-15 spending proposal fails to propose any new initiatives to reduce poverty in California. More than 8 million Californians live in poverty and one in every four children live in poverty. Poverty has increased in California every year since 2006. Rather than reverse this growing inequity, the budget instead prioritizes spending $11 billion on paying off state debt even while more than 2 million Californians are still without work.

Aside from its release date, the Governor’s proposed budget provided very little in the way of surprises. The Administration remains extremely cautious and proposes a $106 billion General Fund budget, with just under $7 billion going to Human Services, and less than $22 billion going to Healthcare. When redevelopment funds were stripped from the budget in 2011 a key source of affordable housing was eviscerated. This budget proposes to re-establish a form of redevelopment, though it is not expected to generate the $1 billion annually for affordable housing that was lost. Other areas of note in the Governor’s proposal include $9.5 billion for Corrections, over $12 billion for Higher Education, and over $45 billion for K-12 Education. So while Human Services spending accounts for 6.5% of the proposed budget, closer to 10% will go to prisons and jails. It should also be noted that the Legislative Analyst and the State Controller both have reported surges to the state’s cash flow, surpassing estimates in last year’s state budget by $2.3 billion.
Click here to Western Center’s full statement. 

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California Food Policy Advocates Respond to Governor’s Budget Proposal
by Alexis Fernandez

1.15.2014 Last week, Governor Brown released his 2014-15 state budget. The budget proposes $106 billion for the General Fund, with just under $7 billion allotted to Human Services and $45 billion for K-12 education. The proposed budget also includes the creation of a Rainy Day Fund. Overall, the Governor’s budget prioritizes continued austerity and a reduction of state debt. Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposal does not do enough to reduce poverty in California.

California’s state coffers are still recovering from the difficult economic downturn — and so are many of California’s families. More than 8 million Californians live in poverty and at least 4 million continue to struggle with food insecurity. As state revenues increase, the budget should focus not just on shrewd savings and debt repayment, but also on investments in vital public programs that help struggling Californians get back on their feet. To help fulfill the Governor’s vision of long-term fiscal stability, the 2014-15 state budget should address the growing inequities faced by California’s low-income families.

With respect to nutrition for low-income Californians, there are few budget highlights.

CalWORKs: CalWORKs maximum grants will increase by 5% in March 2014 as agreed to in last year’s budget. While this is a much-needed increase, it brings the CalWORKs grant value to only 41.6% of the Federal Poverty Level. Even with the inclusion of CalFresh benefits, household budgets for CalWORKs participants are too low to meet the most basic needs, including nutrition.

SSI: The proposed budget does not provide an increase in state funding to the SSI grant. The current value of the SSI grant is just 90% of the Federal Poverty Level. At this grant level, benefits are inadequate and many SSI recipients struggle to meet their most basic needs, including nutrition.

Early Childhood Education: The Governor’s proposed budget does not include any major restorations to the field of early childhood education (ECE). In comparison to the Legislature’s recent proposals to expand quality early childhood education to all children in California, the Governor’s proposed ECE investments fall short. CFPA looks forward to working with the Legislature and the Administration over the next few months to demonstrate that prudent investments in early childhood nutrition will benefit children, families, early childhood educators, and the state’s bottom line.

The Legislature will begin discussing state budget proposals this month. The Governor will release his revised budget by May 15. The final budget must be presented to the Governor by June 15.

Learn more about ECE Nutrition Investmentslink

Read the Governor’s Proposed 2014-15 Budget. link

Questions? Contact Alexis Fernández at 510.433.1122 ext. 111

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Statement from Ellen Wu, Executive Director of CPEHN, on the California Budget Proposal for 2014-15

Governor Brown’s proposal for the 2014-15 state budget, released earlier today, increases funding to health and human services but misses an important opportunity to restore some of the devastating cuts that have impacted the health of California’s communities of color.

The budget proposal includes a $670 million increase to Medi-Cal, mostly for already-enacted implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And while the proposed budget “forgives” the past years of uncollected cuts to Medi-Cal providers, it leaves in place a 10% reduction of Medi-Cal rates. Additionally, the budget proposal does not restore any of the other previous cuts to Medi-Cal benefits.

For more than a decade our communities have been asked to endure painful cuts to services due to structural deficits in the state budget. The passage of Proposition 30 in 2012 has been critical to providing much needed revenue for the state. California must use this opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to its most vulnerable communities by restoring previous cuts to our health and human services programs as well as making sure Californians who remain uninsured have access to affordable coverage.

Visit our Policy Center for a detailed summary of the budget proposal.

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Contact: Ronald Coleman, Government Affairs Manager, rcoleman@caimmigrant.org

California Immigrant Policy Center responds to Governor’s budget proposal

As California turns away from the painful cuts of budgets past, this year’s budget process represents a golden opportunity to invest in families, communities, and our state’s future. We will work closely with our community and legislative partners over the coming weeks to ensure the most just and inclusive budget possible.

There are several positive elements in today’s budget proposal, but at the same time, years of drastic cuts require a more drastic re-investment in our state’s families, who are still fighting to recover from years of economic pain.

On the positive side, after many horrific cuts to essential safety net programs which serve immigrants, this year’s budget leaves Health and Human Services funding for key programs intact, and invests in California’s workforce by implementing a previously approved grant increase for Cal-Works recipients.

Additionally, the budget provides funding to support the successful implementation of AB 60, the Safe and Responsible Driver Act. With millions of immigrant community members across the state eager to apply for licenses as soon as they become available, the inclusion of this item is encouraging, and we will work with our community partners to analyze the details.

As noted, the proposal must also be strengthened in order to heal the pain of previous cuts and address economic inequities.   For example, we are disappointed that the budget does not incorporate any measures to alleviate the suffering of millions of undocumented Californians who are unfairly excluded from health care coverage. In fact, the proposal continues cuts to county programs which provide a vital, minimum safety net to families otherwise without care. Such cuts are a disservice to both undocumented and documented Californians, and are unwise in light of very low Latino enrollment in Covered California.

Given the state’s surplus, we urge the Governor to invest in equitable access to health care for all Californians. To move California forward and advance the inclusion and integration of immigrant communities, we also call for additional investments in naturalization programs and key safety net programs such as CAPI and CFAP.

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