Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center, says the president can punish a state by creating or altering rules for federal programs and services. For example, Hoene said, “In recent budget proposals, the administration has sought to increase work requirements for entitlement programs, which reduces the eligibility for more low-income recipients (and California has more of those folks, so it hits our state harder).” Hoene also said the president can use leverage over funding to try and force the state to enact “new policies [with] rules that are more harmful/restrictive to some states than others.”
There were major cuts to funding for state-run child care and preschool programs for low- and moderate-income families after the recession. Funding has slowly eeked back up to 2007-08 levels, but demand still outweighs supply. Kristin Schumacher of the California Budget & Policy Center told us restoring this should be a top priority. “We know that if we provide families with resources, such as access to subsidized child care, that they’re able to work and maintain employment because they know that their kids are in a safe and stable and consistent environment that they can rely on while they go to work. That’s really important because we want to boost familles’ resources and we know that really benefits kids in the long run.”
The California Budget & Policy Center estimates that a Sonoma County family with two children and one wage earner would need to make $59,000 a year to cover basic needs (even with employer-paid health care). That would be the equivalent of a job that pays more than $28 an hour. Lots of folks wish they were so lucky.
More than 20% of children are part of families that can’t afford clothes, food or other basic necessities, partly because of the state’s housing crisis and the high cost of living, according to a recent study from the nonprofit California Budget & Policy Center.
And while children’s advocates and others appreciate the incremental progress made under Brown — for example, creating and then expanding a state earned income tax credit — Chris Hoene, executive director of the California Budget & Policy Center, said there’s more to be done. “This governor has made strides, but we’re still not back to where we were before the Great Recession,” Hoene said. “I would expect (the Legislature) to see whether a Gov. Newsom is perhaps willing to go a bit further than Gov. Brown was in general.”