Statement by Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways of California Regarding Governor Newsom's January 2020-21 Budget Proposal
For Immediate Release Contact
January 10, 2020 Unai Montes, (Bilingual) 213-476-8742
Governor’s January Budget Invests in Housing, Homelessness, and Supports School-Community Collaboratives; But Misses Opportunity to Make CalEITC/Young Child Tax Credit for All
United Ways of California, representing 30 local United Ways across the state, praises investments to counter the housing and homelessness crisis; expresses excitement over decision to fund innovation in local education agency partnerships designed to meet the needs of students; disappointment in the continued exclusion of households using Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) from tax credits in today’s state budget proposal
(Los Angeles, CA) — Statement from Peter Manzo, President and CEO, United Ways of California, (UWCA) regarding Governor Newsom’s 2020-2021 budget:
“We are pleased to see so many of our shared values reflected in the Governor’s January Budget proposal. California continues to experience a revenue surplus heading into 2020, giving the Governor and policymakers greater opportunities to make critical investments in issues facing our state, amounting to a record-high $222.2 billion state budget, while still continuing to ensure a robust rainy day fund. In the coming months, we look forward to a vigorous negotiation process with lawmakers and advocates alike to agree on a final budget that further reflects the values and needs of all Californians, especially those households that are struggling financially to stay afloat.
UWCA is encouraged by the Governor’s second year of sizable investments to address the ongoing housing affordability and homelessness crises. This includes launching the California Access to Housing and Services Fund with a proposed $750 million initial one-time investment that would be directed at developing affordable housing units, supplementing and augmenting rental subsidies, and stabilizing board and care homes. This is especially pressing considering the most recent point-in-time homelessness count showed an increase of 16% last year in California, with the vast majority of individuals unsheltered. While rental subsidies are identified as a priority in the January Budget, these funds are primarily targeted at those experiencing homelessness. What remains to be seen in the housing equation is how the State plans to support the many households facing severe financial struggles in large part because of rent burden, putting them at the perilous edge of being one unexpected expense away from losing the roof over their heads. While it makes sense to focus on the most urgent needs and relief during emergency conditions, we must also look further upstream and work to provide security to households on the brink and UWCA will work to inform the budget process to ensure a comprehensive approach to homelessness and affordable housing.
Our statewide network is heartened to see the Governor intentionally invest $300 million in Community School collaboratives, and encourages the administration to use the Healthy Start model that California has previously funded to great success to inform how to effectively invest these new dollars. We look forward to working with this administration and the legislature to ensure all children have access to developmental and social supports, as well as a high-quality education to become college and career ready. What Governor Newsom is putting forward in his January budget will help ensure we lift up best practices that get us to truly engaging in prevention and early interventions that are trauma-informed, culturally competent, and meet children and families where they are really at, and not where the systems and silos currently tell them they ought to be.
California has been a national leader in expanding affordable health care coverage and access to quality care, and the Governor’s budget proposal takes vital steps to further ensure the wellbeing of our diverse population. We applaud the investment of $1.4 billion in Healthier California for All (formerly CalAIM) to transform the program through a federal 1915b waiver. We strongly support the expansion of Medi-Cal to include all undocumented adults and applaud the inclusion of $80.5 million investment for seniors under the “Health for All” provisions of his January budget proposal, as well as the continued emphasis on affordability measures such as prescription price negotiations and subsidies available to middleclass earners (up to <$150,000) on the Covered CA exchange. We also welcome innovative ways to contain prices for out-of-pocket expenses, especially for low-income individuals. It is through such bold action and innovative reforms that we will build a truly equitable health care delivery and services system.
Of notable concern, however, the Governor has proposed no additional investment in the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) and the Young Child Tax Credit to further support low-income families and children. UWCA is disappointed that Californians who file taxes with ITINs remain ineligible for the CalEITC and Young Child Tax Credit. Hard-working California families that include an ITIN-holding adults pay taxes, file income tax returns, and should receive the State's refundable tax credits, just like all other taxpayers. Yet 600,000 individuals, responsible for the wellbeing of over 200,000 children, continue to be left out of one of the most effective poverty-fighting tools we have. UWCA will work with Governor Newsom, and our many partners in the nonprofit sector, organized labor, and faith communities to push for the end of this exclusion so that all income-eligible households can benefit from greater financial stability and the other positive impacts proven by these tax credits.
What is clear across the myriad of funding proposals that make up the state budget and pressing issues that impact our nearly 40 million residents, is that the more we prioritize policies that increase affordability of basic needs and build financial stability for families of all incomes and backgrounds, the more we create a clear pathway to a true California for all. UWCA is committed to passing a budget that protects and empowers all of our children, all our families, all of our communities, and invests in all of our futures.”