Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after California Governor Gavin Newsom released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2019-20:
“A budget is a moral statement of one’s values. And with Governor Newsom’s new budget, it is clear that the new Governor believes that California values include fighting for our most vulnerable communities.
This budget is an investment in our future. It is fiscally prudent, paying down $4 billion to eliminate the State’s budgetary debt and deferrals and $4.8 billion to pay down unfunded retirement liabilities. Keeping in mind that California’s budget today is strong, but another recession could impact state programs that families rely on, Governor Newsom is continuing former Governor Brown’s efforts to protect Californians from a future recession by funding the State’s Rainy-Day Fund with an additional $4.8 billion.
I am pleased and thankful that the Governor’s proposed state budget includes an investment of $50 million to help accelerate the cleanup of homes affected by lead contamination from the now-defunct Exide battery recycling plant in Vernon in my District. For almost 40 years, families harmed by lead contamination from the Exide plant have suffered in silence. Early last month, I sent a letter to then-Governor-elect Newsom asking him to address this humanitarian crisis and provide much-needed funding in his proposed budget. Today, the cries of our residents were heard in the State Capitol. This proposed allocation of $50 million is an important step forward for environmental justice. I am hopeful these additional state funds will accelerate cleanup efforts in affected neighborhoods, providing much-needed relief to these vulnerable communities.
The Governor’s proposed budget also adds $20 million to establish a three-year Immigration Rapid Response Program to assist CBO’s and nonprofits in assisting immigrants when federal funding is not available. The budget also provides $5 million to address immigration-related emergencies that occur in fiscal year 2018-19.
Much of the Governor’s proposed budget expands health care access to more Californians. For example, the Governor proposes a state individual mandate for insurance coverage – addressing Obamacare sabotage that took place in the last Congress and signed by this White House. An individual mandate would help lower health insurance premiums. The budget also proposes increases in health insurance subsidies to help offset the cost of health insurance for lower-income Californians. Additionally, approximately 138,000 undocumented young adults between 19 to 25 years old will be able to access expanded Medi-Cal benefits due to a $260 million investment.
Los Angeles County is one of the hardest-to-count jurisdictions in the nation for the decennial census, but we are heavily reliant upon the census to ensure appropriate federal representation and adequate federal funding for our constituents. With proposals by the Trump Administration that would make it more difficult to get an accurate count, I am pleased that Governor Newsom is adding an additional $50 million for outreach efforts surrounding the 2020 Census – bringing the total funding available to $140.3 million.
This budget invests in California families that are living paycheck-to-paycheck and those who have already fallen into homelessness. Governor Newsom proposes more than doubling the existing Earned Income Tax Credit to help families, particularly those with young children, address the rising costs of housing and child care. This budget also provides $500 million in one-time funding for local governments like LA County to build emergency shelters and supportive housing.
The Governor’s proposed budget also focuses on creating jobs and providing for our greatest natural resource: our children. The Governor proposes $1.8 billion to prepare children for kindergarten, including increased access to full-day, full-year State preschool for four-year-olds, and investing in the education of the child care workforce to improve the quality of and expand access to early childhood education for more families. Importantly, the Governor’s proposed budget includes a 15.2% increase in the budget for In-Home Support Services, and proposes easing the funding burdens on the counties. Finally, Governor Newsom rejects framing that government can’t be a job creator while combating climate change: $27 million is allocated to increase job training and apprenticeship opportunities focused on disadvantaged communities that are being disproportionately impacted by climate change. As the first woman to win a Profile in Courage Award for my environmental justice work in the California State Legislature, and as a former Secretary of Labor, this investment in green jobs for disadvantaged communities speaks to my own values.
I am grateful and excited at the possibilities that this budget would offer LA County residents. I am delighted at the reception that this proposed budget has already received in the halls of the State Legislature, which bodes well for its passage. I thank Governor Newsom for prioritizing environmental justice and our communities in his proposed budget, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor on initiatives that promote the health and well-being of all LA County residents.”