RELEASE: End Child Poverty CA Statement on #CABudget 2023-24 May Revision

GRACE & End Child Poverty California Applaud Governor Newsom’s May Revise Budget that Protects and Makes Critical Anti-Poverty Investments

Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President & CEO, GRACE & End Child Poverty California

Today, Governor Newsom released his revised 2023-24 Proposed Budget Summary.

GRACE dares to dream of a future in which every child is valued and free, and the Governor’s May Revision makes important investments and protects critical progress to ensure we continue to make that vision a reality.

We applaud Governor Newsom and his Administration for establishing those priorities while closing a substantially larger budget problem than anticipated in January, given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the final budget condition.

In particular, the May Revise adopts many community-informed End Child Poverty CA IMAGINE priorities, including: 

  • $300 million to reinforce and prioritize California’s historic Universal School Meals program.
  • $23.5 million to ensure timely implementation of the federal Summer EBT program in summer 2024. This is vital to make use of hundreds of millions available in federal food assistance dollars, and ensure eligible children receive this powerful, nourishing benefit.
  • Acceleration of Food 4 All to October 2025 for any Californian aged 55 or older, regardless of immigration status. This is a life-saving change that speeds up implementation by over a year, from the original January 2027.
  • $42.9 million to keep California at the forefront of restoring stolen CalFresh benefits and protecting EBT cardholders from devastating theft targeted at them by sophisticated criminal networks.
  • $200 million to continue waiving outdated, racist child care family fees through September 30, 2023, and stipends to support child care providers.
  • A larger CalWORKs grant increase and sustained support to restore SSI grants.
  • Prevention of delays to student housing investments. 
  • Protection of progress made in a significant number of anti-poverty safety net refundable tax credits and other programs, with–importantly–no new trigger cuts.
  • Leverage of some new revenues, such as $2.5 billion from accelerating the federal MCO tax.

The May Revise proposes a withdrawal of $450 million from the Safety Net Reserve. CalWORks and Medi-Cal investments should instead come from other funds: the purpose of the Safety Net Reserve is for spikes in enrollment, which we do not currently have but may still occur, especially given the projection for a potential recession. 

California also still has the highest poverty rate of any state in the nation. Policymakers must continue to take decisive action.

The good news is that the state and federal government have unequivocally shown that poverty is a policy choice, and the budget is the premier opportunity to advance a poverty-free future. 

We urge the Governor, Administration, and Legislature to embrace a comprehensive approach to the budget, as proposed in the Senate Budget Plan. This plan would move California forward together toward a more equitable future. We especially uplift this plan’s smart and effective combination of both revenues to ensure that wealthy corporations pay their fair share, and new investments in programs proven to lift children and families out of poverty and reverse long-standing racial inequities.

We again thank Governor Newsom for his continued leadership to put wealth to work and ensure that the values of California’s budget, both revenues and investments, prioritize a future free from poverty we know is possible.

Our coalition of over 170 groups of partners and allies looks forward to engaging with all stakeholders as the budget process continues.

click here to view our IMAGINE priorities.