Sen. Holly J. Mitchell, chair of the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee, today released the following statement in response to Gov. Brown signing the 2018-19 budget:
“This budget strikes an appropriate balance that strengthens our state’s fiscal stability with an unprecedented level of reserves, while prioritizing investments that will address the pressing needs of this state,” Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, said during a bill-signing ceremony in Los Angeles. “We continue to work toward restoring programs that still have yet to be made whole from devastating cuts during the great recession and prioritize funding to confront the challenges associated with homelessness and disaster response.”
Mitchell added: “With this budget, we continue our efforts to strengthen the state’s commitment to human infrastructure, with much needed additional resources for child care, targeted resources for higher education and financial aid, additional funds for the courts and diversion and rehabilitative services, and significant ongoing increases to K-14 education.”
Mitchell said equally important are many smaller investments she hopes will pay significant dividends in years to come. These include $8 million for a 100-percent expansion of the Black Infant Health Program; $10 million in permanent funding for legal aid to help the indigent; and $5.3 million to expand Cal Grant eligibility for foster youth.
“This budget is responsible, honest, and is a vessel for making the progress that the people of California need,” Mitchell said.
Notable larger budget items include:
- In total funds, the budget is nearly $200B ($199.6B to be precise). $138.6M is from the General Fund – the largest budget in California’s history.
- Under this balanced budget, the reserve will grow to a combined $15.9B (from the Budget Stabilization Account, the Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties, and Safety Net Reserve).
o This unprecedented level of reserve gives leeway to deal with unanticipated federal actions or a mild recession without making cuts should the need arise. And, if the LAO is correct in its forecast, our reserve may grow even larger.
- The budget continues to pay down debts and liabilities like pensions, including $1.7B from Prop 2.
- Now, for a favorite part the budget – investments. The Legislature made new human investments and continued to work toward restoring programs that have yet to be made whole from devastating cuts during the great recession.
- The budget includes the following:
o $500 million in one-time funding to the Continuums of Care and cities to reduce homelessness by providing emergency housing assistance. $300 million per year to fund the Multi-Family Housing Program via Proposition 2 beginning in 2019-2020.
o $360 million for a 10 percent CalWORKs grant increase effective April 1, 2019, which will raise the grant from $714 a month to $781 for a family of three people.
o $428 million to fund 13,400 new child care slots; $40 million to fund infant and toddler and special needs rates to better reflect the value and cost of taking care of the youngest and most vulnerable children
o $3.6B to fund the LCFF above full implementation. An additional $300 million in one-time funds will be dedicated to schools with low performing students to give them resources that will lead to better performance.
o $477M to the UC and CSU for a general support, deferred maintenance, research, reduction of student hunger and enrollment growth.
o $983 million for fire related purposes ($392 million for fire prevention and $591 million for mitigation).
o $5B in SB 1 transportation funds to improve streets and freeways.
- Outside the main budget bill, there also was agreement on the following:
o $330M each year for the film tax credit commencing July 1, 2020 through July 1, 2025.
o $1.4B in Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to reduce air toxic and criteria pollutants and short-lived climate pollutants, support low carbon transportation, climate smart agriculture, healthy forest, integrated climate communities and clean energy research.
o $1B in Prop 56 revenue for supplemental payments, rate increases, and loan assistance for Medi-Cal Services.
These budget deals are the culmination of significant amount of consideration, deliberation and negotiation with the Legislature and the Administration. In the Senate alone, more than 70 public hearings were held.
“This budget reflects a shared commitment on the part of the Governor and the Legislature to strike a balance between fiscal prudence and critical investments in families and infrastructure,” Mitchell said.