Governor’s Revised Budget Proposal Lays Foundation for a More Equitable California, Further Action Needed to Create Ongoing Investments

The California Budget & Policy Center, a nonpartisan, data-driven organization with a focus on evaluating public policies and their effect on Californians with low and middle incomes, released the following statement from Executive Director Chris Hoene following the release of Governor Newsom’s revised 2021-22 state budget:

“California is experiencing strong revenue growth driven largely by high-income Californians and corporations thriving in our communities, and federal and state efforts to provide relief to people who have been economically harmed by the pandemic. Investing the state’s vast resources to create an equitable state and healthy local communities where all undocumented Californians have access to health care, renters can keep their homes, child care providers can maintain their businesses, and low-wage workers and parents can safely return to work is what policymakers should be doing now.

“While the governor’s revised 2021-22 state budget makes significant investments, including getting cash directly into the hands of low- and middle-income households, and funding for child care, rental support, and assisting people experiencing homelessness, California’s revenue means policymakers can provide greater support and make bolder and even more equitable policy choices that meet people’s ongoing health and economic needs. This includes:

  • allocating funds to support undocumented Californians and their families who were excluded from federal relief checks  
  • expanding nutrition assistance and comprehensive Medi-Cal to all undocumented Californians, regardless of age
  • committing long-term funding for homelessness services  
  • providing ongoing funding for local public health departments
  • maintaining payment rates for workers using the state’s paid family leave and state disability insurance programs for their family care needs
  • closing more prisons that disproportionately harm the lives of Black and brown Californians and waste state resources. 

“As the Budget Center’s latest data show, 1.5 million fewer Californians are employed than there were at the start of the pandemic a number still larger than the jobs lost during the Great Recession. Black and Latinx Californians are disproportionately represented among the state’s unemployed. It could take the state as long as 18 months to gain back those jobs. Meanwhile, nearly 3 in 10 jobs in the child care industry have been lost during the pandemic. These child care providers and workers are primarily women and Black, Latinx, immigrant, and other workers of color. And the state’s 44% of California residents who live in renter households have faced significant challenges in receiving the direct housing assistance, robust legal aid, and affordable housing they need now. 

“Policymakers can’t lose sight of the pandemic and recession’s ongoing harm for people, or the immense barriers that blocked low-income households and Californians of color for generations from opportunities to be healthy and thrive. COVID or not, millions of Californians spend their days agonizing over the ability to pay rent, put food on the table, access affordable health care and child care, and weather unexpected expenses. State leaders must seize the opportunity to make bolder policy choices and budget decisions that create an equitable state and healthy, thriving local communities that move every California forward.”

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The California Budget & Policy Center engages in independent fiscal and policy analysis and public education with the goal of advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians with low and middle incomes. Support for the Budget Center comes from foundation grants, subscriptions, and individual contributions.