Some perspective: 

  • 2020-21 May Revised Budget Proposal: $203,319,334,000 
  • 2019-20 Enacted Budget: $214,777,961,000
  • 2018-19 Enacted Budget: $$201,372,752,000
  • 2017-18 Enacted Budget: $$183,256,000,000

The 2020-21 proposal is an overall 5.3% reduction in the size of the state budget from the last enacted budget. This is contingent. The governor is proposing a lot of “automatic triggers” to cut the budget further if the Federal Government does not support the programs with these triggers (Health and Human Service programs for the most part). The Federal Government’s current leadership has been targeting these programs for cuts for many years and are very unlikely to fund them as if they were some repo market or failing bank. After all the hand wringing and ‘tough choices,’ the governor has proposed an increase in the department of corrections budget even after the department is responsible for fewer adult  inmates and now, apparently zero youth inmates. Last year, California Partnership applauded the shift of juvenile justice out of the adult corrections bureaucracy and into the Department of Social Services (The Department of Youth and Community Restoration). California has undertaken numerous corrections reforms in the past decade, including public safety realignment in 2011 and Proposition 47, in hopes of reducing the prison population, maintaining public safety, and improving persistently high recidivism rates. This makes the  increase in the Department of Corrections budget baffling. The proposal, in this economic crisis, does hint at closing a couple prisons and zeroing out funding for youth offenders from the HHS budget and moving them to county probation-run juvenile detention facilities. The governor proposes providing $2.4 million this year to county probation departments to ease the transition, with a promise of additional funds in the future. But the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation budget, during this catastrophic economic crisis, is growing at a steady pace. 

  • 2020-21 May Revised Budget Proposal: Corrections and Rehabilitation $15,926,339,000
  • 2019-20 Enacted Budget: Corrections and Rehabilitation $15,788,581,000

California Partnership had hopes that the governor, in the midst of this pandemic, will respond to the main drivers of poverty in California, housing and health care costs. A third of California’s workers made less than $15 an hour before the state of emergency. Rents had been skyrocketing, driving many more Califonians into homelessness. Now, with depression level unemployment, the number of homeless is going to explode. Housing is not the only factor pushing low income Californians further into poverty. Premiums under the Affordable Care Act were higher in California than in the rest of the nation. California pays significantly more for common health care services than the rest of the country, and the gap has been widening. Housing and health costs push more Californians further into poverty every year. In the midst of this pandemic, this is more critical than ever. 

"CURB is calling on Governor Newsom to immediately pursue aggressive parole and sentencing reform efforts in order to accelerate reduction of the state prison population and to repeal all plans for prison and jail expansion," said Amber-Rose Howard, Executive Director, Californians United for a Responsible Budget. "Now more than ever the state should prioritize closing at least two prisons by 2021, saving the state billions of dollars and allowing us to make real investments in public safety––more affordably and effectively––by building out decentralized health and human services. We must curb prison spending to build a stronger California." CURB

The $137,758,000 increase in Corrections and Rehabilitation, to imprison 1,200 to 1,500 fewer people, when compared to the$80,500,000 dollars the governor cut from his January proposal, which was intended to pay for health care to approximately 24,000 people (Health4all Elders), is very telling of what the governor “values” in his “expression” of the budget.  “We are beyond blessed to live in California. But in these crucial times for the community, it is our moral duty to protect those that are most vulnerable. Health4All Seniors is long overdue.” Luz Gallegos, TODEC

“They raised us, fed us, and they took care of us when we couldn't. Now it is our turn to take care of them. The Chicano Latino Caucus of San Bernardino County, demands that the State of California prioritizes the addition of the essential protections and Health4All in the revised state budget.  We are against proposed education budget cuts and other safety-net program cuts. This budget revision should add essential worker protections and other necessary items in this time of crisis. Here in San Bernardino County, so many suffer without having numerous protections such as these proposals, especially for our undocumented elders. We stand with those who cannot protect themselves, who have given back and provided for our economy and our families. We encourage Governor Newsom to add these protections into the revised state budget.” ~ The Chicano Latino Caucus of San Bernardino County

California Partnership hoped that the governor, in the midst of this pandemic, would respond to the main drivers of poverty in California, housing and health care costs. A third of California’s workers made less than $15 an hour before the state of emergency. Rents had been skyrocketing, driving many more Califonians into homelessness. Now, with depression level unemployment, the number of homeless is going to explode. Housing is not the only factor pushing low income Californians further into poverty. Premiums under the Affordable Care Act were higher in California than in the rest of the nation. California pays significantly more for common health care services than the rest of the country, and the gap has been widening. Large companies predict the total cost of workplace health-care coverage to reach an average of $15,375, according to the National Business Group on Health. That’s up from $14,642 in 2019. These ridiculous prices for health care and housing are pushing many low income Californians further into poverty. The federal response to the pandemic is an obvious example that a single payer system like Medicare for all is the solution. The actual response to COVID-19 related testing and treatment and is the only functioning healthcare delivery system and stands in contrast to the private health insurers dodging the costs of treating sick people, to whom they sold insurance and still extract enormous profits from the premiums. 

Our healthcare system is stronger when everyone is included getting the treatment and care they need as soon as possible, so we are disappointed to see that the expansion of Medi-Cal to income-eligible seniors, regardless of immigration status, was no longer included. No virus discriminates based on immigration status, and our health care system shouldn’t either. We will continue to advocate that this investment be prioritized by our legislative leaders in their budget discussions." Phoebe Abramowitz (Health Access California) Health4all Elders/Federal

1 in 10 workers are undocumented in California who have also been impacted by COVID 19. The contributions and labor of the undocumented workforce is the reason why California is the 5th largest economy of the world and it is because of their contriubutions that the state must include them in economic relief. That is why we are calling for the creation of a wage replacement program for undocumented workers who are not able to access other benefits that are given to workers. Our communities have been asked to shelter in place since mid March and today they continue to do so with no food on their tables and no means to pay rent." - Polo Morales, Director of External Affairs, CHIRLA   

Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice (CCAEJ) looks forward to seeing how Gov Newsom responds to the COVID-19 crisis, that is disproportionately impacting low-income, black and brown communities the most, through the State budget. Equity and targeted investments into these communities is more important now than ever. With so much instability and insecurity in these communities, Gov Newsom can use this moment as an opportunity to invest in workforce development and training in clean, sustainable industries that will transform the communities that have had to hold the burden of the polluting industries of the past. Transportation emissions are the leading cause of greenhouse gases in the Country, doing justice to communities impacted most by their polluting environment looks like investing in electrification and clean, renewable energy. 

This crisis could be mitigated by retooling and reengaging our workforce. California’s school districts are going to be hit hard by the reduction in revenue from local tax bases and lost state revenue. To rebuild that base, we need to invest in our people so they have the skills to develop a more sustainable economy. 

"For far too long,  communities like South Los Angeles have been neglected and have not received their fair share of critical services.  It is imperative that we invest in children and families by funding world-class schools and strengthening local economies to lift up all Californians. We believe that we must close unfair corporate-tax loopholes, and reclaim the 12 billion that is snatched from our communities every year.  Let's do the right thing, let's invest in Schools and Communities First!"-Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE)

"The governor must prioritize closing the digital divide of our children and ensure they have the mental health services they need to lead healthier lives" ~ SBX Youth & Family Services

As an alumni, I was able several decades ago, to attend community college full time, work part time, and afford all my bills including rent; I ask the governor to please remember the basic needs of today’s community college students who do not have the opportunity to do what I did.  Also please help us protect the Asian and Pacific Islanders who are subject to despicable racism arising from COVID19.  I am proud that yesterday Mt SAC unanimously adopted resolutions addressing both. ~Laura Santos San Gabriel Valley Progressives

Unfortunately the governor proposes $850 million in cuts to CalWORKs if the Federal Government does not provide funding. These cuts are set as triggers that will “automatically” happen if there is another governmental entity to blame. The governor is also banking that the waves of newly unemployed will save the state $665 million because the childcare provided by CalWORKs will not be used as there will not be jobs.  These cuts reflect the governor’s expectation that the high unemployment rate will result in significantly reduced use of child care. Lily Maquez,  member of Parent Voices-San Francisco Chaptermember of parent voices-SF chapter “Child Care is Always Essential”

“As newly unemployed Californians join the ranks of the hungry, the state must act with the tools at its fingertips and release another $20 million of the funds committed at the beginning of the crisis to emergency food distributors taking care of our essential needs. And as stay home orders produce a large increase in online orders for groceries, the state must act to make it easier for CalFresh recipients to take part in the new online food economy without being subject to exploitation through high delivery fees, aggressive online marketing, and loss of online privacy.” ~ Frank Tamborello: Hunger Action Los Angeles

Expecting anything rational from the federal government, at this point, is foolhardy.  California’s response to this situation needs to reflect that hard reality. California must continue to fight for all marginalized communities. We need a budget that ensures that everyone- from workers making the minimum wage to people who are unable to work and depend on SSI- never have to choose between food, seeing a doctor when we are sick or paying rent. This state has the resources to that today- right now- and begin to build back a state, an economy, and a community that we can all be proud of.

 In Solidarity,

California Partnership