Governor's Budget Expands Funding for Education and Health
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET HELPS EXPAND FUNDING FOR EDUCATION AND HEALTH
Tough times have called for tough measures to bring our state’s finances in line with fiscal reality. While California has not yet fully recovered from the pain of the Great Recession, with the release of his 2013-2014 budget, the Governor has taken significant steps toward investing in the health and education of California’s children and families.
Due to increased funding to schools through Propositions 30 and 39, along with California’s commitment to expanding critical health coverage to more citizens in the state, the Center for the Next Generation commends the Governor’s sustained push for health and opportunities for every citizen.
As we detailed in our recent report, “Prosperity Threatened: Perspectives on Child Poverty in California,” the alarming increase in child poverty underscores the urgency with which we must respond to assist the most vulnerable members of society. In fact, as the report attests, child poverty has risen faster than poverty experienced by any other age group in society since 2008, which is why investments now in education and health will help balance our fundamental responsibilities to children.
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET AND EDUCATION
Propositions 30 and 39 infused the state’s budget with $5.8 billion, nearly all of which will go to increasing funding for education and capital improvements.
Due to these and other revenue increases in the state, minimum funding for schools will increase by $2.7 billion. In addition to increasing funding, the Governor has proposed major revisions to how the funds are distributed throughout the state with a major focus on children in disadvantaged communities.
The budget also transitions workforce training to community colleges in the state and adds $300 million in funding to help adults develop skills necessary to compete in California’s labor market.
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET AND HEALTH
Among the Governor’s most ambitious priorities, the new budget calls for $350 million to help expand health coverage to California citizens – through Medi-Cal – in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act. Along with this expansion of coverage, the plan calls for the aggressive implementation of new resources for citizens to obtain coverage. New state-based health insurance exchange markets will lower costs and increase essential health coverage for millions of Californians.
GOVERNOR’S BUDGET AND SOCIAL PROGRAMS
In addition to increasing funding for major improvements to education and health coverage, the Governor’s budget holds steady funding for cash assistance to needy families. While previous budgets have slashed money that was critical to children and families, the proposed course of action will at least save families from confronting even more reductions in aid. While we are disappointed that this strong budget does not restore the refundable portion of the Child and Dependent Tax Credit, which in past years provided critical assistance to help the lowest-income families afford child care, we do applaud the investments in general child care funding that it retains.
Sound investments in a stronger future start with children, and the Governor’s recent budget proposal is a step in the right direction.