Governor’s Budget Proposal Increases Investment in Kids’ Education and Protects Their Health
Los Angeles, CA –Below is a statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, on behalf of United Ways of California (UWCA), regarding the Governor’s proposed budget release:
In a time of great uncertainty about federal budget commitments to California, United Ways of California is pleased to see the Governor’s commitment to continuing crucial support to children’s education and health programs, even as he tops off California’s Rainy Day Fund. We thank the Governor and legislature for guiding us to a significant budget surplus.
The biggest win for children and families in the Governor’s proposed 2018-19 budget is $3 billion to fully fund the Local Control Funding Formula, which benefits all schools, focusing on supports for underserved communities. This comes two years earlier than originally projected, and helps to address a critical need at the local level to fuel improved education and health outcomes for California’s students. It also proposes almost $1.8 billion in discretionary one-time Proposition 98 funding for school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education, along with more than $70 million in ongoing Proposition 98 funding to expand the state system of technical support for local educational agencies. We applaud the Governor for this proposed investment in technical assistance and supportive services so children can obtain a quality education and succeed in life. This funding provides an opportunity to better track outcomes for children.
The budget also provides $167 million on a one-time basis to increase the availability of inclusive early education and care for children aged 0 to 5 years old, especially in low-income areas and in areas with relatively low access to care. This is a small step in the right direction, which we hope will lead eventually to providing universal early childhood education for all California kids.
In addition, this budget recognizes the importance of workforce development through investment in online courses and grants at the community college level and an ongoing increase of $200 million to establish a K-12-specific component of the Strong Workforce Program that will encourage the establishment and support of K-12 Career Technical Education programs that are aligned with needed industry skills.
Importantly, the budget proposal maintains critical funding for children’s health coverage, including the Health4All Kids expansion to cover undocumented children, while underscoring the importance of immediate federal action to extend Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding. Two million California children and pregnant women rely on CHIP funding for their health coverage. The CHIP program has enjoyed bipartisan support since its inception 20 years ago, and we cannot see any good reason why Congress has so far failed to take action to extend funding for it, which ended more than 100 days ago. We urge California to protect CHIP coverage for all children and pregnant women, regardless of federal action. Of great concern is the coverage for 32,000 pregnant women and children who may not be covered if CHIP is not renewed. The State should guarantee that these vulnerable women and children will be protected no matter what happens at federal level.
"We are pleased to see the Governor proposing to continue support for the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), we believe there are opportunities to further strengthen the CalEITC to reach more vulnerable low-income workers."
While we are excited about the investments in education and the Governor’s continued commitment to health care, we would have liked to see additional investments in fighting poverty by committing more funds to income support programs, such as CalWORKs grants, which would make a substantial difference in family financial stability and strengthen California’s economy.
UWCA is committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to pass a final budget that protects our children, their families, our communities 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 33 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.