The following is the CCC's analysis of Governor Newsom's proposed 2020 - 2021 budget.
The CCC is always looking to support measures that increase the quality of life for all individuals, from conception through death.
This initial budget includes $80.5 million to expand eligibility for full-scope Medi-Cal benefits to all persons aged 65 years and older, regardless of immigration status, no sooner than January 2021. This proposal will lead to greater access to quality health care. This will provide preventative care to an estimated 27,000 undocumented persons in the first year. Full implementation costs are projected to be approximately $350 million. Medi-Cal will also focus on people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
The Medi-Cal budget increased $2.2 billion from last year with assumptions that caseload will increase. Services currently included under Medi-Cal include but aren't limited to family nurse practitioner services, family planning, and treatment services for children.
There is no question that homelessness and housing are a priority of Governor Newsom’s and his new budget reflects that in several ways. The lack of affordable housing directly contributes to the homelessness epidemic throughout the state. To address the housing crisis, the Governor’s budget builds upon investments through a multi-pronged approach to increase housing production and help provide access to services for individuals and families with immediate needs. This budget includes $750 million one-time monies to establish the California Access to Housing and Services fund. The primary goal is to reduce homelessness by moving individuals and families into stable housing. This approach represents a radical shift in the state's involvement to house the many unsheltered persons in California.
In California, CalWORKs provides families with children assistance to meet basic needs and welfare-to-work services so that families may become self-sufficient. The Governor’s budget plan provides for a CalWORKs grant increase (a 3.1 percent increase) to increase the amount of child support payments passed through to CalWORKs families from $50 to $100 for a family with one child and $200 for a family with two or more children.
Children's Welfare Services include family support and maltreatment prevention services, child prevention services, foster care services, and adoptions. The proposed budget includes $598.9 million in 2020-21 for services to children and families in these programs, an increase of $38.9 million from the previous budget.
To benefit lower-income households, the new budget also expands the California Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), more than doubling the existing credit from $400 million to $1 billion, and increasing outreach to encourage higher levels of household participation.
In addition, the Federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program provides a monthly cash benefit to eligible aged, blind and disabled persons who meet the program's income and resource requirements. In California, the SSI payment is augmented with an SSP grant. This budget includes $2.66 billion for the SSI/SSP program. The SSI/SSP caseload consists of 69.4 percent disabled persons, 29.3 percent aged, and 1.4 percent blind. The grant levels are $943 per month for individuals and $1,583 per month for couples.
Education and Early Childhood
The Conference advocates for high-quality education for all California’s public and private school students, with a preferential option for those who are poor and most vulnerable. Toward that end, the budget contains $645 million to improve base funding for special education and $255 million to identify disabilities of children ages three to five.
The Governor’s budget also provides expanded investments ($900 million total) in K-12 learning for teacher recruitment and training initiatives supported by the CCC to help ensure a statewide supply of qualified teachers.
Again this year, the budget pledges to continue expanding access to early childhood education by offering state-subsidized preschool for all low-income four-year-olds by the end of next year, and will add 10,000 more full-time preschool slots this year (an increase of $31.9 million in 2020-21 and $127 million ongoing).
The Budget also proposes creating a plan to achieve universal preschool, including new revenue options to support increased enrollment. The CCC supports both these efforts with an important emphasis as long as they contain a viable mixed delivery system of public and private providers that empowers parents to select from a range of early childhood programs, including those with a faith-based curriculum.
For new parents, beginning July 1, 2020, the Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefit duration will increase from six weeks to eight. With this, CA is one-third of the way to their goal of extending PFL to six months to support parents bonding with their children.
In caring for “Our Common Home,” the Conference advocates for improving air quality and combatting climate change. Supporting of this principle the budget launches a four-year $1 billion Climate Catalyst Revolving Loan Fund to seed new technologies to reduce the release of carbon dioxide and other emissions, as well as finding ways to capture greenhouse gas so the state’s net release is zero.
In his ecological encyclical Ladauto Si’, Pope Francis discusses pollution, waste, the lack of recycling, and the destruction of the Earth as symptoms of a throwaway culture. The Governor’s budget recognizes the need for low-interest financing for the infrastructure needed to create the new circular economy by reducing waste and reusing resources. The new budget pledges to collaborate with the Legislature to reform California’s system that provides clean, recyclable material.
The Newsom administration says that it is committed to improving outcomes for incarcerated individuals and enhancing public safety by improving rehabilitation and reentry programs. This budget will provide incarcerated individuals with additional tools to prepare themselves to reenter society, including funding for new and expanded programs. It will also increase options for increasing the number of inmates receiving a high school diploma instead of a California High School Equivalency Certificate.
The landscape of youthful offender rehabilitation policy is changing, and a reflection in that is the Governor’s plan. This proposed budget includes $6.2 million in 2020-21 and $10.1 million ongoing, to establish Youth Offender Rehabilitative Communities. These are programs that house offenders under the age of 26 select adult institutions in campus-style environments conducive to positive behavioral programming. These communities will serve to connect youth offenders to positive mentors, as well as rehabilitative and educational programs targeted to their unique needs. A model program will be established at Valley State Prison in Chowchilla.
A challenge that many inmates face when upon release is the loss of family and community connections during their time of incarceration. Visitation provides inmates with the opportunity to establish and maintain a continuum of social support, including parent-child relationships, which are critical for successful re-entry. This budget includes $4.6 million ongoing monies to add a visitation day at nine institutions.
Last year’s budget included resources to begin the transition of the Division of Juvenile Justice from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to the new Department of Youth and Community Restoration, effective July 2020. This transition aligns with the rehabilitative mission of providing trauma-informed and developmentally appropriate services to youth in the juvenile justice system. The new budget includes $264.3 million to reflect the transition and additional resources to operate independently. The new department will receive $289.7 million for 2020-21 and$295.6 million for 2012-22, annually.
In addition, Prop. 47, a 2014 law that changed certain low-level crimes from potential felonies to misdemeanors, receives an increase of $44 million in the Governor’s proposal, over the estimated savings of 2019-20 at $122.5 million.
Last year’s budget included significant augmentations for several victims’ service programs designed to improve reduce victimization, including the California Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, the Family Violence Prevention Grant Program and restorative justice programs in state prisons. Governor Newsom’s administration indicated its intent to consolidate victims' programs operated by the California Victim Compensation Board (CalVCB) and the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) as part of the 2020-21 budget. While the administration still intends to pursue this consolidation, the plan has been temporarily paused. Given the complexity of this consolidation and Cal OES’s role in coordinating response and recovery efforts reiterated to recent disasters, they are reassessing the initially proposed timeline. In the meantime, the administration is taking steps to increase collaboration between CalVCB and Cal OES to enhance the quality of victims' services.
The new budget proposal maintains 2019 funding levels at $65 million for qualified immigration services, including deportation defense, naturalization, counsel for unaccompanied minors, and other immigration-related legal services. The investment includes continuing funding for legal services for students, faculty, and staff at the California State University campuses and the University of California system. The governor’s budget proposes an additional $10 million allocation to expand these services to the California Community College system.
Unfortunately, the California State Nonprofit Security Grant Program (CSNSGP) was not included in the Governor’s proposed budget, and now this will require an appropriation by the Legislature or May Revise insertion. The CCC endorses continued funding of the CSNSGP that helps improve security for nonprofit places of learning and worship that are at high risk for violent attacks or hate crimes due to ideology, beliefs, or mission.