There is increasing recognition in California and nationally that the financial aid students receive to attend college should address the cost of attendance beyond tuition and fees, since living expenses – particularly housing expenses – often make up the largest share of students’ budgets. Consequently, recent financial aid reform efforts at the state and federal levels have focused on aligning the structure of financial aid with the total cost of attendance.
California allows parents less time receiving welfare-to-work cash support than 37 states and D.C. In most states, parents’ lifetime time limit is 60 months, the maximum allowed for federally-funded TANF support. But California restricts parents in CalWORKs, the state’s TANF program, to only 48 months – a full year less.
State policymakers have an opportunity to lead again by making the CalEITC inclusive of immigrant families who are not eligible to receive it today. This easy-to-print infographic shows what the tax credits can help pay for in a family budget and why including immigrant families is a critical next step for California.
Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) grants are a critical source of income for well over 1 million California seniors and people with disabilities who have low incomes and need help paying for basic necessities, such as housing. Grants are funded with both federal (SSI) and state (SSP) dollars. The maximum monthly grant for an individual is about $944, which consists of an SSI grant of $783 and an SSP grant of $160.72. To help close budget shortfalls during the Great Recession, the state made deep cuts to the SSP portion, reducing it from $233 per month in early 2009 to $156.40 per month by mid-2011. State policymakers increased the SSP grant by $4.32 per month starting in January 2017. However, no additional state grant increases have been provided since then, and the Governor’s proposed 2020-21 state budget assumes the SSP portion will remain frozen for another year.
California loses a large amount of state revenues through tax breaks, also called “tax expenditures,” with much of the benefits going to high-income households and corporations. Personal income and corporate income tax expenditures combined are projected to amount to more than $63 billion in forgone state revenues in 2019-20 (the fiscal year that started on July 1, 2019), or an amount equivalent to more than 40% of the 2019-20 General Fund budget. This is revenue that otherwise could go to Californians who need additional support to be able to live and work in the state while strengthening the state’s economy.