Governor’s May Budget Revision Continues to Invest in K-12 Education while Missing an Opportunity to Improve Access to Health Care and Restore Cuts to Vital Services that Worked
May 14, 2014
Sacramento, CA—While the Governor’s May Budget Revision continues investment in K-12 education, similar investments in health programs and initiatives that help families achieve financial self-sufficiency are needed to strengthen opportunities for low-income families. California’s United Ways work throughout the state to improve health, education, and financial stability in our communities, and we know that success in any one of these areas is affected by progress in the others. United Ways of California (UWCA) urges the Governor and legislature to work together through the budget process to restore health and human services programs that are crucial to achieve these results.
UWCA applauds the Governor for his continued commitment to our schools on maintaining the core priorities outlined in his Budget for K-12 schools paying down the “Wall of Debt” and investing significantly in the new Local Control Funding Formula. We support the Governor’s leadership to create a continuous appropriation for LCFF, ensuring that the formula continues to be implemented on schedule in future years. UWCA also deeply appreciates his proposed investment of $26.7 million for the K-12 High Speed Network to provide technical assistance and grants to local educational agencies; this is a good start on addressing the technology requirements necessary for successful Common Core implementation.
On the other hand, we are disappointed that the Governor’s revised budget fails to restore critical, effective prevention programs for children that were eliminated during the recession, including the Black Infant Health Program, California Children’s Dental Disease Prevention Program, and Early Mental Health Initiative. Prevention and early intervention improves the health of California’s children, helping them succeed in school. These investments would also save money by reducing long-term health care and other costs to taxpayers.
In addition, support services vital to a family’s financial stability and economic growth, such as CalWORKs and child care, should be rebuilt after the deep cuts that have hurt children and families and gone on long enough. This too was a missed opportunity.
Almost half of California’s children are covered by Medi-Cal, and by failing to restore the ten-percent (10%) cut to Medi-Cal payments, the Governor’s revised budget undermines access to care for children and makes it prohibitively burdensome for children and families to get the care they need. The substantial increase in enrollment in Medi-Cal is wonderful news. But now California must do the hard work of ensuring there are enough doctors, dentists and providers to serve all children and families in Medi-Cal. California’s Medi-Cal provider payments are already among the lowest in the country.
We are encouraged that Governor Brown’s revised budget recognizes the importance of one area of children’s health services by proposing $2 million for a new pilot program in Los Angeles to increase utilization of children’s vision services.
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