With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations increasing in the state due to a contagious variant of the virus, we are reminded the pandemic is not yet behind us. The road to recovery from the pandemic as well as the economic recession will be long for California children, families, and individuals. And the effects of the past year-plus will continue to be felt, particularly on our mental health and well-being.
Governor Gavin Newsom released the May Revision to his proposed 2021–22 state budget — also known as his “California Comeback Plan” — and much attention is being given to the number of proposals and large dollar amounts. The governor’s latest proposal and the economic position California finds itself in today are striking given the global pandemic and recession.
California’s state leaders have more than $100 billion in funds available to be invested over the current budget, and future years.
With COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations declining, and vaccines becoming more available for Californians, there are signs of hope as we pass the pandemic’s one-year mark. Still, state leaders must not lose sight of the past year’s immense public health toll, and the data and stories from Californians that repeatedly showed us how communities of color experienced higher rates of illness, death and overall hardship due to the virus. Sadly, many Californians of color won’t see their health and economic well-being improve for years, or perhaps even during their lifetimes.
California children and families will receive much-needed money to buy food, pay for housing or child care, and other urgent needs thanks to the American Rescue Plan approved in early March by Congress and signed by President Biden.
And the number of children and families who will benefit from assistance through an expanded Child Tax Credit is remarkable — 7.9 million to 9 million California children, according to estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and ITEP, respectively.
As California and our country move forward to tackle the challenges facing our communities and make life better for our families and neighbors, the California Budget & Policy Center continues our commitment to advancing public policies that improve the lives of Californians who have been blocked from sharing in the state’s prosperity. We recognize a healthy and vibrant democracy and economy, and brighter California is possible when we remove the policy barriers blocking Californians in low- and middle-income households, as well as Asian, Black, Latinx, and Pacific-Islander Californians and other Californians of color from fully participating in the state’s economic, social, and political life.