Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement in response to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised budget for fiscal year 2020-21 that reflect impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic:
“In the face of a global health crisis that has spurred a global financial crisis, Gov. Newsom’s revised budget prioritizes our most pressing concerns: the health and safety of our communities impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, and the need to support all people whose lives and livelihoods have been affected.
“The Governor’s budget is a moral statement reflecting our collective values. Gov. Newsom’s new $203.3 billion budget proposal would draw down reserves, borrow money from internal accounts, and temporarily increase some revenues while at the same time tighten the belt of State operations. These mitigating efforts are necessary to make up for a projected $54.3 billion budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus crisis. In this unprecedented pandemic, we recognize we will all be called upon to make sacrifices.
“Gov. Newsom’s 2020-21 proposed budget conveys an unwavering commitment to hardworking families who have been hurt the most by the pandemic. Recent job losses have disproportionately hit our communities of color, many of whom are employed in the industries of retail, tourism and hospitality, which is widening the gap between the rich and the poor. I stand with the Governor in his commitment to providing these families an essential safety net, including unemployment insurance, the newly expanded earned income tax credit, as well as CalWORKS grants.
“This budget is a humane and necessary investment in the health of our residents. His budget proposes to spend over $16 billion from the State’s so-called rainy-day fund over the next three years to offset budget cuts. The State’s revised budget also calls for more than $8 billion in funding for schools and public health, funding the State received from the federal government through an economic relief package passed by Congress in March.
“Statewide, over 4.2 million people have filed for unemployment since mid-March, when Gov. Newsom first announced a stay-at-home order that called for the closure of nonessential businesses. According to Newsom’s administration, the unemployment rate is projected to rise to 18 percent this year.
“The Governor is correct in noting that no one state can address this crisis alone. Federal support is critical for all 50 states and he urged for bipartisan support of the HEROES Act, which was introduced this week by the U.S. House of Representatives. Gov. Newsom also said the State’s proposed cuts could be offset through federal relief funds. Every cut can be negotiated.
“In addition, I applaud him for both funding programs that slow the spread of COVID-19 while also preparing the state for an economic recovery. The Governor’s proposed budget prioritizes funding for our most pressing matters: public health, public safety and public education. It also supports workers and small businesses through programs that will help restart our economy. In this pandemic, it is critical to save lives and save livelihoods. LA County recognizes that these two elements are intertwined. Saving lives is how we save our economy.
“The State budget doubles down on housing and homelessness as priorities during this crisis and proposes that $750 million in federal funding be directed to purchase hotels and motels secured through Project Roomkey, to be owned and operated by local governments or non-profit providers, and serve as permanent supportive housing. Moreover, certain local governments that did not receive federal CARES Act funding will receive an allocation from the state – $450 million to cities and $1.3 billion to counties – and are advised to spend this funding to supplement ongoing efforts supporting people experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am pleased that the Governor’s proposed budget remains committed to funding tuition waivers at community colleges, student financial aid, as well as a fee waiver for new businesses. Many workers return to higher education and job training after losing a job; continuing this initiative will prioritize affordability and access to these important resources.
“I thank Gov. Newsom for investing in a California for all and supporting hardworking families who are struggling to put food on the table in this crisis. I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor on initiatives that will improve the quality of life of LA County’s 10 million residents.”
Lawmakers will review Gov. Newsom’s revised budget. Their deadline is June 15.
Contact: Rosa Maria Santana, Deputy Director of Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org