Governor’s Budget Proposal Good For Education, But Doesn’t Do Enough To Help Low-Income Families
January 9, 2015
Los Angeles, CA—Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO of United Ways of California, regarding the Governor’s 2015-16 proposed budget release:
California’s finances continue to stabilize year after year under Governor Brown’s leadership. However, with a general fund proposal of $113.3 billion, the investment in our human capital continues to be insufficient to address the needs of children, families and individuals across California. While the Governor’s proposed budget invests in K-14 education, we are disappointed to not see similar investments in health and human services that would help low-income families achieve good health and financial self-sufficiency in order to increase their opportunities.
UWCA applauds the Governor for making significant, continued investments in K-14 education. With an increase of about $8 billion, including $1 billion for community colleges, California will continue to improve our overall education system. Additionally, thanks to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), K-12 schools have received $65.7 billion to date, a 39 percent increase from four years ago. United Ways in California work diligently to cut student drop out rate and increase access to preschool and look forward to continuing our work to increase success in these areas.
The Governor and legislature should be praised for the work they have done to implement the Affordable Care Act and ensure the expansion of Medi-Cal to four million more eligible Californians. However, the Governor’s budget proposal once again misses an opportunity to ensure needed access for all the newly enrolled and existing Medi-Cal beneficiaries. While the Governor acknowledged that “having health security is comfortable, decent and betters people’s lives,” his budget for healthcare is in many ways a reflection of the influx of new funds as a result of the Affordable Care Act eligibility expansion, rather than a only an investment on the state’s part.
Having as health insurance card is great first step, but its critical to ensure that one can actually use it and find doctors that can provide care. To that end, the Governor and Legislature must find ways to work together and improve the utilization and access to quality care. By not restoring the Medi-Cal recession-era provider rate cuts, other than the exemptions included in last year’s budget, access remains a real concern. It is time to help low-income children and families more easily access a doctor. People actually getting the care they need is what will eventually drive down costs and save the state money. The Governor’s budget release today signals our job is not done.
Lastly, this budget proposal does not do enough to further reduce the impact that the severe tightening of income supports during the recession had on families, many of whom are still struggling to regain financial stability. We are glad the state financial situation has improved significantly but unfortunately we can’t say the same for working families. The needs of working families are as great as they have ever been and we hope the investment in families increases as state’s financial fortunes further improve.
United Ways of California urges the Governor and legislature to work together through the budget process to restore some of the much-needed health and human services programs that were cut or abolished during the deep recession years. Improving education alone will not address the bulk of the problem we face today if we do not achieve balance in other critical areas such as health and human 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. We look forward to working with the Governor and the state legislature on these very important issues.
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. California’s United Ways know that success in any one of these areas is affected by progress or lack thereof in the others.
Peter Manzo, President & CEO
Judy Darnell, Vice President of Public Policy