Governor’s Revised Budget Is Bad News for California Families
It’s time to build a budget that truly works for all Californians
Today, Governor Brown released the May Revision to the budget that he proposed in January. The $156.2 billion May revision replaces January’s $154.9 billion plan. Though Governor Brown says, “This May Revision is good news for California,” we believe the plan is in fact bad news for families in poverty who continue to struggle as California continues to climb out of the recession.
Governor Brown missed another opportunity to refund and restore many of the Health and Human Services Programs that faced over $15 billion in cuts since 2008. But together, we can build a budget that works for all Californians by working closely with our legislators to find solutions for families in need.
Higher than projected enrollment in Medi-Cal, with health cuts to counties continuing. While we applaud the Governor for providing an additional $1.2 billion of funding to expand Medi-Cal coverage through implementation of the Affordable Care Act, higher than expected enrollment in Medi-Cal should not be used as an excuse to ignore the fact that poverty in California is proliferating. Additionally, this budget continues the drastic cuts to counties as part of the health realignment, which prevents counties from expanding eligibility to state residents who are ineligible for the ACA. The $300 million cut in the 2013-2014 budget year to counties as part of health realignment will stay in place, while the revision lowers the expected $900 million in this new budget year (2014-2015) to $724.9 million. It will be extremely challenging for any county to expand eligibility to undocumented Californians under this framework. If we are to make sure that all Californians have access to comprehensive health care we must pass SB 1005 (Lara), Health for All.
Modest Increase for Human Services Programs. Though we appreciate the continued commitment to provide additional funding to ensure that CalWORKs families receive a modest 5% grant increase, the Brown administration must do more to increase grants across the board for economic support programs, while also restoring the Cost of Living Adjustments to programs for families living in poverty.
No Funding for Citizenship. Additionally, we are very disappointed that the Governor didn’t allocate any funding in the new proposal to restore the Naturalization Services Program. Governor Schwarzenegger eliminated funding for the program in 2008. Ever since, advocates have fought hard to bring the program back to ensure that community members could work with trusted community based organizations to get assistance for navigating the naturalization process, rather than be subject to schemes and deception by unscrupulous notarios or immigration consultants. Refunding NSP and helping legal permanent residents become citizens also will save money that would be spent on other programs.
Other key features of the May Revision include:
- No change on AB 60 proposal. In January, the Governor proposed over $64 million for implementation of AB 60 (Alejo) to ensure that the state is ready to issue driver’s licenses in January 2015.
- The Governor is eliminating the Major Risk Medical Insurance Program (MRMIP), a state-funded insurance program for Californians with pre-existing conditions who do not have employer or other private or public program based coverage. Since most MRMIP consumers have transitioned to coverage under the ACA, the Governor concludes that this program is no longer needed. The elimination of the MRMIP program could potentially pose a danger to vulnerable immigrant communities. This program allows all immigrants, regardless of status, to apply for coverage when they have a catastrophic condition. If this program is eliminated it could put those immigrants in danger of losing coverage. CIPC will continue to gather information about this proposal, and provide details as we learn them.
- Increases funding to IHSS (In-Home Supportive Services) and CalWORKs due to increasing caseloads
- Increases funding to CalFresh in order to serve 279,000 families
- Pays down the state’s “wall of debt" and long term liabilities
At CIPC, we are committed to working with the Brown administration, the legislature, and partner organizations to achieve a budget that works for all Californians. Over the next few weeks, we will provide further analysis as details emerge.
For more information, email Ronald Coleman at email@example.com.