Gov. Brown Unveils Budget Proposal: What You Need To Know
Today, as community groups across the state rallied to urge Governor Brown to “tear down California’s wall of poverty,” the Governor proposed spending $113.3 billion as part of the 2015-2016 budget.
Today’s budget introduction kicks off a dynamic, five-month legislative process. To win a budget that truly upholds our values and moves California forward, we’ll all need to roll up our sleeves and get involved. CIPC looks forward to working with the Governor, the Legislature, and partners across the state as this process advances.
Below, please find CIPC’s initial analysis on key areas of interest to immigrant communities. Please join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #CABudget.
Health for All: Strong Words, Now We Need Strong Policy
In his budget summary, Governor Brown recognized that undocumented immigrants who qualify for relief under President Obama’s announcement on executive action may “potentially” qualify for full-scope Medi-Cal.
In truth, these community members will most certainly qualify for Medi-Cal once approved for deferred action, as long as they are eligible for the program.
Rather than smoke and mirrors, we expect Governor Brown to allocate money to invest in access to care for community members who qualify for deportation relief, so that we can get to the real work of ensuring that all Californians have access to quality, affordable health care, regardless of immigration status.
In fact, when Governor Brown introduced the budget today, he made a compelling case for affordable access to health care, recognizing that it brings comfort, decency, and security to all. The Governor is correct: ensuring access to health care for all who call the Golden State home will make California stronger.
Additionally, CIPC urges the legislature and the Governor to finish the job by passing the Health for All Act this year. That way, we can ensure that those left out of the president’s deportation relief also have access to health coverage. Because in the end, no one should suffer, go bankrupt, or even die because of a treatable condition – no matter where they were born.
In addition, Governor Brown has missed a historic opportunity for our state to build on pro-immigrant policies by investing in Immigrant Integration through the implementation of President Obama’s deportation relief. Immigrants and their children make up over 40% of our state’s population and we cannot afford to ignore the opportunity for expansive and meaningful integration of immigrant communities.
Funding the establishment of a state agency, like a California Office of New Americans (SB 10 – Lara), to coordinate a statewide strategy to support immigration assistance and citizenship services would increase immigrant communities’ economic mobility and protect them from immigration scams, in addition to deportations and changes in policies that target non-citizens. While California leads on protections for immigrants, our Golden State is falling behind on immigrant integration. Establishing a California Office of New Americans would bring California up to par with states like New York, Illinois, and Maryland, amongst others, which have recognized the great economic and social benefits of investing in immigrant integration by establishing dedicated state offices.
$500 million of Prop 98 General Funds were allocated to the Adult Education Block Grant to support programs including classes and courses in citizenship and English as second language for immigrants, amongst other adult education programs.
Governor Brown missed another opportunity to invest in CalWORKs to lift families out of poverty. Money allocated in the 2015-2016 budget stems from increases in previous budget years. The FY 2014-15 State Budget Act increased CalWORKs Maximum Aid Payment levels by 5 percent, effective April 1, 2015. This increase, combined with the prior 5 percent increase in 2014, is estimated to cost approximately $340.5 million in FY 2015‑16. CIPC will continue to work with the legislature to ensure that grant levels are increased to meet the needs of families in poverty.
Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) and California Food Assistance Program (CFAP)
The 2015-2016 budget does not include any policy changes for either CAPI or CFAP.