Who is hit hardest by California’s job losses that are far worse than the Great Recession? Women and people of color. In only two months – between February and April of this year – California lost 2.6 million jobs. That’s twice as many jobs as California lost during the Great Recession over almost three years. Senior Policy Analyst Alissa Anderson shares more about what the job losses mean for Californians and what policymakers can do to extend support needed now.
The health and economic effects of the COVID-19 crisis are severe – and Californians with low incomes are especially hard hit. Changes to jobs, schools, child care settings, and services are particularly disruptive to the millions of Californians who were locked out of the state's prosperity well before the pandemic hit. How should federal and state policymakers respond to ensure Californians who can least afford economic hardship and health setbacks receive the support they need now?
The Budget Center believes that even in times of crisis, California can lead with strategic and targeted policies that achieve the greatest impact for our children, families, individuals, and workers, especially for those locked out of most public supports . We must remember the health of our economy and communities is only as strong as the support we extend to every Californian.
Recent acts of police brutality against Black Americans and greater public outcry over the continued abuse and deaths of people across Black communities have amplified calls for defunding, abolishing, and reimagining local policing. This also comes with growing understanding that police violence has disproportionately fatal consequences for Black men and women, and Black transgender women in particular.The calls to action involve significantly transforming the mission and structure of local law enforcement, divesting from local law enforcement in its current forms, and reinvesting the freed-up funding into community-building capacities that would also seek to end racial profiling and police brutality against Black people and other people of color.
California workers who file taxes using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) are currently excluded from the CalEITC, the state’s refundable tax credit for working individuals and families with low incomes. The majority of these excluded immigrant workers – an estimated 2 in 3 of those who could be eligible for the CalEITC – perform jobs considered “essential” during the COVID-19 crisis.
As California faces a projected state budget shortfall in the tens of billions of dollars due to the COVID-19 crisis, Governor Newsom’s revised budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year includes significant reductions to programs and services that help keep Californians healthy. In particular, proposed cuts to Medi- Cal (California’s Medicaid program) could worsen health outcomes as well as undermine efforts to advance health equity at a time when the health and economic hardships from COVID-19 have disproportionately impacted Black and Latinx Californians, women and children in low-income households, and undocumented Californians.
During this unprecedented health and economic crisis, many subsidized child care providers in California have stepped up to the challenge of providing early learning and care for families with low and moderate incomes – particularly for children with parents who are essential workers. While the state and federal government have both provided emergency funding to support subsidized child care providers, total support falls far short of the estimated level necessary to sustain child care providers. In addition, the Governor’s May Revision would cut provider payment rates by 10%. These rate cuts could be detrimental for child care providers who were already underpaid and operating on thin margins prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, during this crisis, providers are faced with dramatically higher costs due to smaller class sizes, increased staffing per child, and the added expense of keeping facilities clean as they care for and educate children.