In early January, Governor Brown revealed his proposed spending plan of $131.7 billion General Fund dollars for California’s 2018-19 state budget. In the final year of his term, Governor Brown continued his long-standing emphasis on ‘fiscal restraint.’ For the Governor, the potential uncertainty of future revenues and potential economic downturns remain key concerns.
As the federal government continues its harsh attacks to immigrant communities that threaten their health and wellbeing, we are committed to fighting for a budget that upholds inclusion and compassion. We will continue to challenge systematic exclusions of entire communities from healthcare, and other vital support. Nothing less than California’s future is at stake.
The proposed figures in the Governor’s January budget release did not reflect the significant implications of changing federal policies and funding. While the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) was reauthorized in February, the implications of the new federal tax law and other pending federal developments may substantially impact California’s budget, and require close monitoring.
On the bright side, the Governor’s proposal continues California’s commitment to fund immigration services and legal representation to reduce deportations. The Governor’s proposal also includes new investments that support access to higher education and census outreach planning.
However, there is more work ahead to ensure that California’s budget responds to the realities of our State and continues efforts to improve access to health care and provide critical assistance to families in poverty. Unfortunately, even with an estimated $6.1 billion surplus, the Governor’s budget does not provide additional funding to critical safety net programs that help push back on rising economic inequalities. Our state must respond to the federal government’s harsh exclusions of immigrants from critical support. These exclusions hurt us all.
We applaud Governor Brown’s comments recognizing the contributions of California’s immigrant communities to the state’s social and economic fabric. However, from healthcare, to the California Earned Income Tax Credit and the CalFresh program, to a slew of other economic support programs, many working families remain excluded from accessing vital support, despite their fundamental role in California’s civic, cultural, and economic life.
California must continue to build on recent progress that uplifts our values of equity and social and economic justice.
Please find below updates to the analysis CIPC released in early January. Below are highlights of the Governor's proposed state budget and additional budget proposals from advocates seeking to improve investments that support California’s immigrant communities.
Adult Education & Workforce Development
Adult Education Block Grant -
The Adult Education Block Grant (AEBG) is an important source of state funding to programs and services that provide adults with the knowledge needed to be prepared for the workforce, such as English language courses, GED attainment, and vocational skills. These programs also support integration and inclusion outcomes for immigrants not seeking employment training but adult education services that support their engagement in community and civic life. This year’s budget continues to sustain the $500 million funding.
- Budget Proposal: A proposal from adult education stakeholders, the California Council for Adult Education and the California Adult Education Administrators Association, provides a two prong approach to advancing how AEBG funding reaches immigrant communities. The proposal would establish performance based funding that incentivizes the needs of communities with multiple barriers including limited English proficiency, poverty, and lack of high school completion, and include “immigrant integration” as a reported outcome for state funding. CIPC will be working with stakeholders and the Legislature to advance these efforts and ensure they support improved reach of immigrant adult students.
Access to Higher Education: California Online Community College -
There are currently 2.4 million Californians in the prime working ages between 25 and 34 who have only a high school diploma or some college but no degree. Nearly half of these are from Spanish-speaking households. This particular age group of students are also active in the labor force, making it difficult to have time to commute to school, attend class, and study at home.
Governor Brown’s budget proposes investing $100 million in one-time funds, and $20 million in ongoing funds, to create an online California community college. This effort is aimed at providing a more accessible option for higher education to California’s students, and improving economic opportunities for people who have extremely limited or no access to educational and training programs. Community-based organizations will be included in the development of this effort to promote the system in underrepresented communities. While this will create another avenue for immigrant communities, especially adults, to attain higher education, vocational training and credentials, CIPC will continue to engage in conversations with the Legislature regarding the proposed online system to ensure that it is informed by the unique needs of immigrants and refugees.
Additional Workforce Development Proposals: Funding the Breaking Barriers to Employment Act -
In 2017, Governor Brown signed the Breaking Barriers to Employment Act to establish a grant program aimed at improving upward economic mobility for targeted populations, including immigrants, through employment services and training. The grant applications would require a partnership between a local workforce board(s) and community based organization(s). Funding an initiative like this Act is an opportunity for the state to tailor funding for the unique needs of immigrants and refugees who are not adequately supported or reached through existing federal workforce development programs. CIPC will be engaging in conversations with the Legislature to ensure any funding to support the implementation of this Act appropriately reflects the program.
Click here for CIPC’s Advancing Economic Opportunity for CA's Immigrant & Refugee Workforce resource for organizations interested in public investments to advance economic inclusion for immigrant and refugee communities.
Health and Human Services
Republicans in Congress have attempted to repeal and undermine the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through various proposals and actions. In December 2017, Congress passed its federal tax bill which zeroed out the penalties imposed by the mandate. The individual mandate is a key piece in the ACA that requires individuals to buy health insurance or pay a tax penalty. According to the UC Berkeley Labor Center, this change could result in 1.7 million Californians losing health coverage. The Governor’s budget emphasizes uncertainty when looking towards the future of the ACA. CIPC along with partners will continue to fight against any efforts to cut Medicaid and also advance policies that provide Medi-Cal coverage to all Californians, regardless of immigration status.
- Budget Proposal: Health4All Adults
Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -
CHIP, through Medi-Cal, funds critical health care to children and pregnant women whose families do not qualify for Medicaid due to the federal income limits but cannot afford private insurance. The proposed budget continued with its commitment to funding this critical program.
- Update: On February 9th, Congress passed a short-term funding resolution which includes an additional four years of CHIP funding, totaling a 10 year extension.
The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program provides cash assistance to low-income children and services to the parents to find employment. CalWORKs is the state’s program of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. Thanks to legislative advocacy efforts, the Governor’s proposed budget includes $26 million for a CalWORKs Home Visiting program for pregnant or first time parents with children under 24 months old. However, the proposed budget does not include an increase to the CalWORKs grants, thus failing to help lift families out of deep poverty. This year, state partners are moving SB 982 (Mitchell) to end childhood poverty by setting a floor grant at 50% of the federal poverty line.
Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) and California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) -
The Cash Assistance Program for Immigrants (CAPI) and California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) were created as state-funded programs to support immigrant families after the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act, also known as federal welfare reform.
CAPI - CAPI is a state-funded program that provides cash assistance to low-income eligible aged, blind, and disabled immigrants who are not eligible for Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payment (SSI/SSP) due to their immigration status. The Governor’s proposed budget does not increase the SSP grant amounts. This year state advocates are moving AB 3200 (Kalra, Reyes, & Thurmond) to reinstate the Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) beginning January 1, 2019 in order to ensure that the maximum combined amount of SSI/SSP grants are at 100% of the Federal Poverty Level.
CFAP - CFAP provides state-funded food assistance to qualified non-citizen immigrants who are not eligible for CalFresh due to their immigration status. The proposed budget does not include any changes to eligibility or grant amounts.
2020 Census -
The proposed budget invests $40.3 million in a multi-year, multi-lingual effort towards the 2020 Census count for statewide outreach and related activities. California’s census participation rates are lower than the national average and immigrant communities are especially at risk of not being counted, which significantly impacts the ability of community-based organizations and government agencies to provide critical services. Accordingly, advocates are asking the Legislature to increase the Governor’s proposal by investing more resources in community-based organizations' outreach and prioritizing language access. CIPC supports increased investments in increasing outreach for and participation in the 2020 Census.
“One California” Immigration Services Funding -
The proposed budget maintains a $45 million investment in immigration services including education, outreach, legal representation and legal services for low income immigrant Californians. The program is administered by the CA Department of Social Services. This funding is part of the program’s expansion in the 2017-18 budget that included ongoing funding at $45 million through the 2019-2020 fiscal year. For information regarding the details of this funding please click here.
- Budget Proposal: Assemblymember Santiago and Assemblymember Carrillo have announced a bill and accompanying budget request for a one time addition of $10 million to the “One California” program to provide assistance to Californians with Temporary Protected Status (TPS). The One California program has responded to a number of changing immigration policies since its inception in 2015. It is critical that the program maintain an appropriate level of funding and flexibility that allow it to support our immigrant community with legal representation or other immigration services that connect Californians to relief from deportation. CIPC leads efforts with the One California Coalition and other partners to monitor the implementation of the program’s 2017 expansion and is spearheading ongoing conversations with the Legislature regarding opportunities to strengthen the program’s ability to respond to an increasing need for legal representation and immigration services.
Undocumented Unaccompanied Minors (UUM) Program -
The proposed budget continues a $3 million investment to fund legal counsel for unaccompanied children fleeing violence in their home countries.
The proposed budget invests $4 million dollars to expand availability of interpreters for civil court proceedings. This funding is especially impactful for individuals with limited English proficiency, including people in family court proceedings such as victims of domestic violence to ensure they are treated with dignity and justice.
In 2017, Governor Brown signed AB 450 (Chiu), the Immigrant Worker Protection Act. The Budget includes $1.6 million and additional staff positions to implement AB 450 and protect the immigrant workforce from unlawful detainment and workplace retaliation.
- Budget Proposal: Labor Enforcement of the Domestic Worker Bill of Rights
Last year the Governor signed into law SB 54, the California Values Act, which includes a provision that prohibits the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) facilities from restricting access to in-prison educational or rehabilitative programming or credit-earning opportunities on the sole basis of immigration status, ensuring that all individuals have access to these programs. This year the Governor’s proposed budget allocates $454.4 million General Fund specifically for the Division of Rehabilitative Programs in CDCR facilities. This increase in funding stems from California’s shifting prioritization to reduce the prison population as demonstrated through the passage of initiatives like Prop 57, The Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act in 2016, which focuses on incentivizing individuals held in state prisons to earn credits for sustained good behavior and in-prison program and activities participation to lessen their sentence. We applaud the prioritization of rehabilitative services for individuals in prison, however we also urge the Governor to allocate funding to community-led rehabilitative programs that take place in the community instead of solely in prisons.
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