GRACE & End Child Poverty California Applaud Governor Newsom’s May Revise Budget

Urge Adoption of Revenues and Investments Needed to Advance a More Equitable California

PASADENA, CA, USA, May 12, 2023/ -- Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty California:

“GRACE dares to dream of a future in which every child is valued and free, and the Governor’s May Revision makes important investments and protects critical progress to ensure we continue to make that vision a reality. We applaud Governor Newsom and his Administration for establishing those priorities while closing a substantially larger budget problem than anticipated in January given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the final budget condition.

In particular, the May Revise adopts many community-informed IMAGINE priorities, including:
- $300 million to reinforce and prioritize California’s historic Universal School Meals program.
- $23.5 million to ensure timely implementation of the federal Summer EBT program in summer 2024. This is vital to draw down hundreds of millions in federal food assistance and ensure eligible children receive this powerful benefit.
- Accelerate Food 4 All to October 2025 for any Californian aged 55 or older, regardless of immigration status, instead of January 2027.
- $42.9 million to keep California at the forefront of restoring stolen CalFresh benefits and protecting EBT cardholders from devastating theft targeted by sophisticated criminal networks.
- $200 million to continue waiving child care family fees through September 30 and stipends to support child care providers.
- A larger CalWORKs grant increase and sustained support to restore SSI grants.
- Prevents delays to student housing investments.
- Protects progress made in a significant number of anti-poverty safety net refundable tax credits and other programs with no new trigger cuts.
- Leverages some new revenues, such as the $2.5 billion through accelerating the federal MCO tax.

The May Revise proposes a withdrawal of $450 million from the Safety Net Reserve. CalWORks and Medi-Cal investments should instead come from regular reserves: the purpose of the Safety Net Reserve is for spikes in enrollment, which we do not currently have but may still occur, especially given the projection for a potential recession.

California also still has the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation, unfortunately, and policymakers must continue to take decisive action. The good news is that the state and federal government have unequivocally shown that poverty is a policy choice, and the budget is the premier opportunity to advance a poverty-free future.

We urge the Governor, Administration, and Legislature to embrace a comprehensive approach as proposed in the Senate Budget Plan that would move California forward together toward a more equitable future through a combination of revenues to ensure that wealthy corporations pay their fair share and investments in programs proven to lift children and families out of poverty and reverse long-standing racial inequities.

We again thank Governor Newsom for his continued leadership to put wealth to work and ensure that the values of California’s budget, both revenues and investments, prioritize the future free from poverty we know is possible. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders as the budget process continues."

Linda Swank
GRACE & End Child Poverty CA
+1 626-356-4206
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