Yesterday, the California Senate and the Assembly passed an unprecedented budget. While Governor Gavin Newsom has yet to sign Assembly Bill 129: the Budget Act of 2021, this measure does represent a three-party agreement between the Senate, Assembly, and the Newsom Administration.
The total budget spending package is $262.6 billion, of which $196.4 million is from the General Fund. The state is using $11 billion to pay off all the Proposition 98 money owed to schools, which was borrowed to deal with last year’s budget crises. Over $25 billion is being saved in various reserve accounts to create safety buffers for unanticipated volatility and to put the state on solid fiscal footing.
“I wholeheartedly support this fiscally responsible and equity-oriented budget,” said Senator Steven Bradford. “This budget will empower Californians to recover from the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic through direct assistance, equitable policy reforms, and new investments in our communities. If there were ever a time when we needed a robust and bold budget, it is now — and that is what we have delivered.”
The Budget Act of 2021 makes needed and helpful investments specifically into Senate District 35, including, but not limited to, the following:
- $60 million to California State University Dominguez Hills to address infrastructure needs;
- $50 million for Charles Drew University to construct a medicine and science building and to support more people of color going into the health profession;
- $10 million to Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Hospital to provide infrastructure and workforce support;
- $8.5 million for the Inglewood Market Street Streetscape Improvement Program and the Market Street Facade and Tenant Improvement Program;
- $1.2 million to the Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor for restoration of the Cheryl Green Center for children to play and learn;
- $3.5 million for the Los Angeles Black Worker Center to create the Workforce Equity Demonstration Project to assist more workers in obtaining government jobs; and,
- $1 million to the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute at California State University Dominguez Hills
Notable overall investments in The Budget Act of 2021-22 include, but are not limited to:
- Another modified round of the Golden State Stimulus, which will provide direct relief to Californians with income up to $75,000, with the amount of assistance varying from $500 to $1,100 depending on a family’s filing status;
- Extension of the eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent to September 30, 2021, and 100 percent rent COVID rent forgiveness;
- $1.5 billion in grants to small businesses and non-profits;
- $12 billion to prevent homelessness;
- An additional 120,000 child care slots in the fiscal year 2021-22, and increasing an additional 80,000 slots over the next four years;
- $3 billion one-time to launch a statewide Initiative to foster community schools in over 1000 campuses where students and their families’ health and services needs can be met with the overarching goal of supporting academic success;
- $1 billion ongoing and $753 million one-time to expand afterschool and summer school enrichment programs for low-income students;
- Expansion of Medi-Cal to adults age 50 and older regardless of immigration status;
- $151 million to eliminate criminal administrative fees that create a poverty and debt trap for the many who cannot afford to pay them; and,
- $30 million to help cannabis equity applicants and licensees pay for the cost of licensing fees.
“This budget has equity built into its core. For years, the state has allowed counties and courts to impose user fees in the criminal system to pay for the cost of operations — disproportionately at the expense of people of color. This government-created debt becomes a shackle that keeps our people down even after they do their time and pay their debt to society. This budget works with my SB 586 to solve this problem by eliminating criminal administrative fees,” said Senator Bradford. “This budget also allocates $30 million directly to cannabis equity applicants and licensees for fee waivers, helping them overcome a huge hurdle to the legal market and accomplishing my goal from this year in SB 603, as well as building on all my prior cannabis equity measures. I am grateful to President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), for their support of these righteous causes. I am also thankful to the many passionate community-based organizations who have banded together to undo the systemic racism that exists in state law and policy.”