The California Catholic Conference (CCC) was pleased to see that Governor Jerry Brown included new appropriations for several CCC priorities in his May budget revise. The newly proposed budget for the 2017-2018 fiscal year now includes funding for palliative care programs, early childhood education, retention of several beneficial programs and expanded funding for immigration related services.
A most welcome and notable change is the new inclusion of $1.3 million for the implementation of a Palliative Care Services program for Medi-Cal recipients, mandated to take effect no later than January 1, 2018. The CCC has worked to ensure that palliative care resources are available that show compassion and human value. The CCC will continue to advocate to expand support and funding for palliative care programs.
Also of great importance is the additional $15 million for immigration services funding, for a total of $30 million in the state’s General Fund, to further expand the availability of legal services for people seeking naturalization services or assistance in securing other legal immigration status.
As advocated by the CCC, Governor Brown restored the addition of 2,959 state preschool spots originally planned for 2018. And although Middle Class Scholarships for students attending California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) are phasing out, the Governor dropped his January plan to reduce Cal Grant aid for low-income students who attend those schools.
While encouraging the local use of discretionary funds to address California’s shortage of qualified teachers, the May Revise offered no new statewide approach. The CCC will continue to address this issue in negotiations with legislators.
Governor Brown has also called for the continued funding of the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), a tax credit that is a refundable state tax credit designed to boost the incomes of low-earning workers and their families and help them afford basic expenses. However, the budget does cut back on funding for education and outreach to ensure qualified individuals utilize the credit, posing a risk to funding in future years.
As continued budget negotiations will consume much of the Legislature’s energy into the near future, the CCC will continue to monitor and report any significant changes. Visit www.cacatholic.org for the latest.