We Commend the Governor for Protecting Progress, and Call For Continued Action to End Poverty
January 10, 2023 / / Pasadena, CA
Statement attributable to Shimica Gaskins, President and CEO of GRACE and End Child Poverty California:
Today, Governor Newsom released his 2023-24 Proposed Budget Summary. We commend Governor Newsom for his clear call to prioritize Californians on the front lines of economic hardship, a theme he echoed throughout his press conference, including protecting vital programs proven to prevent poverty and build prosperity.
We further applaud the Governor for some of the key decisions made to balance the state’s budget given the fiscal conditions. This includes the prudent choice to withdraw the $750 million payment on the state’s outstanding federal loans for unemployment benefits, which the LAO noted would “provide no near-term economic relief to employers or workers.”
We urge the Governor and Legislature to build on this strong first step to take actions needed to address the moral imperative to lift every California child and family out of poverty. As Langston Hughes reminds us, a dream deferred is a dream denied.
We must act now to make sure all our children are valued, healthy, secure, and free from poverty.
The Governor wisely proposes increased support for families experiencing homelessness, to help keep families housed, as well as nation-leading health for all, in this year’s budget. He offers new proposals such as the Health and Human Services Innovation Accelerator Initiative, that if includes CalWORKs and CalFresh, could make bold improvements to access of critical safety net programs.
Those investments build on transformative actions taken during the pandemic including baby bonds, health care, tax credits for families, cradle to career supports, and other End Child Poverty Plan recommendations.
It is not an overstatement that those gains, and the lives of California’s children living in extreme poverty, are at risk. They are struggling to survive as their families face the toxic stress of inflation, food insecurity, homelessness and other challenges as key federal interventions like the expiration of the expanded Child Tax Credit that brought poverty to historic lows and closed racial inequities.
While we continue to call on Congress and the White House to take continued action, California must continue to lead. Budgets are statements of our values, especially in a challenging year.
We again commend the Governor for protecting critical progress made, and call on all budget stakeholders to maximize opportunities to advance the future free from poverty we know is possible. GRACE and End Child Poverty California look forward to working with the Governor, Administration, and Legislature to ensure that investments to end poverty are prioritized – our children and families simply cannot wait.
For a summary of California’s latest investment in supporting our low-income children and families, read our recap of the 2022-23 legislative session and ECPCA priorities below.