United Ways of California Reacts to Governor Brown's Budget Proposal
January 10, 2013
Los Angeles, CA –United Ways of California (UWCA) issued the following statement today relating to children’s health, education and family financial stability in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal. The Governor’s proposed 2013-2014 budget contains a number of major changes that will affect children and families.
After several years of harsh budgets that imposed significant cuts to the programs that families rely on, UWCA is pleased to see that the Governor’s proposed budget appears to usher in an era of reinvesting in California’s future. While this budget is by no means ideal for California’s most vulnerable populations, it inspires more hope than budgets in recent years, and smartly begins to rebuild our damaged health, education, and human services budgets.
UWCA applauds the Governor for introducing a new approach to school finance that would be transparent, equitable, and direct money according to students’ varying needs. The weighed pupil formula would permanently eliminate dozens of categorical requirements now burdening the system, and instead allocate a flat base rate per pupil, plus an additional weighted amount for low-income students or those who are not fluent in English. This will give school districts more flexibility to use resources strategically to ensure all California children succeed, and give added attention to the needs of low income and English language learners.
We are also pleased to see that the Budget invests in the State’s higher education system to help provide more affordable access to higher education for all California’s students. Over the past four years, fees have increased by $5,556 (84 percent) at the University of California and by $2,900 (97 percent) at California State University schools. We hope that this year’s budget provides stable funding growth over multiple years and eliminates the need for further tuition increases.
The Governor’s budget indicates that $350 million from the general fund has been set aside for the expansion of the Medi-Cal program as part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which will allow more of our state’s lowest-earning individuals and families to receive health coverage in the program. This change will be significantly assisted by federal funds, but the Governor has left open the question of whether this expansion should be managed by the state or by the counties. UWCA is optimistic about the promise of Medi-Cal expansion but many unanswered questions remain and we look forward to participating in continued discussions between the governor, legislature, and state and county agencies on how to best serve our communities.
While UWCA supports continuing the Gross Premium Tax on Medi-Cal managed care plans, these revenues have historically been used to ensure that low-income children have access to health coverage and should specifically be allocated to shore up health care for California’s children and protect our state’s future, not funneled into the state’s General Fund or into the governor’s proposed $1 billion reserve.
UWCA applauds Governor Brown for continuing the Hospital Quality Assurance fee through the end of 2013 with the revenues going to fund hospitals and to help offset the costs of providing care to children. We have concerns about the governor’s proposal to save $135 million through unspecified managed care efficiencies that have not yet been identified and we encourage the Governor and the Department of Health Care services to provide more detail about this element of the proposal.
Unfortunately, the Governor would further slash child care and early childhood development programs by proposing a $30 million cut for the 2013-2014 fiscal year. The Governor will also direct the Department of Social Services to convene a workgroup to find further efficiencies that can be implemented in the program. UWCA strongly encourages the legislature and the Governor to forgo the cuts to the already underfunded Child Care system. Subsidized child care is essential to supporting gainful employment of low-income families. Without it many families face a horrible choice between quitting work or placing their children in inappropriate care situations.
United Ways of California is committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to pass a final budget that protects our children, their families and our future.”
United Ways of California improves health, education and financial stability results for low-income California families by coordinating the statewide advocacy and community impact work of 34 California United Ways.
Peter Manzo, President & CEO
Judy Darnell, Director of Public Policy