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March 2017

March always marks a critical stage in California’s annual budget debate. Legislative subcommittee hearings gear up, shedding light on central budget questions and offering a glimpse into what the Legislature’s priorities might be. This year, March is turning out to be key for another reason: In Washington, DC, Republican leaders are rolling out major proposals on a number of initiatives, including replacing the federal Affordable Care Act. The impact on our state and nation could be enormous.
 
As one would expect, the changing federal landscape was a frequent topic of discussion at our annual conference a couple weeks ago (see Policy Insights item below), and the interplay between federal policies and the state budget is a topic we’re weighing in on often, through our blog posts, published reports, and presentations around the state. Be sure to watch your email inbox and the Budget Center’s website – and follow us on Twitter and Facebook – to keep up with the latest.

Steven Bliss
Director, Strategic Communications 
Thanks to All Who Joined Us at Policy Insights 2017

On March 2, over 350 people from around the state attended our annual conference, Policy Insights 2017, at the Sacramento Convention Center. Among the featured speakers were Senator Holly J. Mitchell, Assemblymember Phil Ting, Nicholas Johnson of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Kim S. Rueben of the Urban Institute, and Heather Boushey of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Attendees included policymakers and their staffs as well as representatives from a broad range of nonprofits, social services agencies, and research organizations.

In light of the great uncertainty at the federal policy level, a common theme of Policy Insights 2017 was exploring how to navigate the new federal landscape in ways that advance budget and policy choices that expand economic opportunity for low- and middle-income Californians. Plenary sessions examined what the federal budget and policy outlook might mean for working families' well-being as well as for state policy. Workshop sessions covered a range of timely topics, such as the Universal Basic Income debate, environmental justice, early childhood education, health care reform, criminal justice, and various others. 

Presentations and handouts from Policy Insights 2017 are available online.

California Budget Perspective Chartbook Takes In-Depth Look at Governor’s Proposed Spending Plan

The Budget Center recently released our annual chartbook, California Budget Perspective 2017-18. This analysis examines Governor Brown’s proposed budget, showing the economic and policy context for the proposal, highlighting the key issues it raises, and outlining what major shifts at the federal level could mean for this year's state budget debate.
 
Hearing on State Support for SSI/SSP Tomorrow; Many Recipients Struggle to Get By, Face High Housing Costs

Tomorrow, Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services will meet at 2:30 p.m. in Capitol Room 444 to discuss the future of Supplemental Security Income/State Supplementary Payment (SSI/SSP) grants in California. Listen to the hearing.

A recent Budget Center Data Hit shows that while SSI/SSP grants help address economic hardship among older Californians, almost 2 in 5 older adults who receive them live in poverty. Additionally, our recent Fact Sheet, which provides a county-by-county comparison of the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a studio apartment to SSI/SSP grants, finds that in every one of California's 58 counties, the FMR for a studio apartment exceeds half of the maximum SSI/SSP grant for an individual.
Our Policy Perspectives Speakers Series So Far
 
Launched in late 2016, the Budget Center’s Policy Perspectives Speakers Series provides expert analysis and insights on key policy questions facing California. This series includes events held across the state and related web-based sessions. 

The Policy Perspectives Speakers Series kicked off in December with a two-part event at The California Endowment’s Sacramento Meeting Place. This event, webcast via Facebook Live (details and recording), offered an overview of California’s state budget process and previewed the 2017 state budget debate. Next, in January, the Budget Center held a webinar briefing (details and recording) based on our “first look” analysis of the proposed 2017-18 budget, which Governor Brown had recently released.

The series continued last month with two events in Southern California that explored what the Govenor’s proposed state budget, as well as emerging changes at the federal level, could mean for local regions. One event was co-hosted with the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside, and the other was held at — and live webcast from — the California Community Foundation’s Joan Palevsky Center in Los Angeles (details and recording). Both of these Southern California events featured Budget Center Executive Director Chris Hoene highlighting key issues in the proposed 2017-18 state budget, set against the backdrop of fundamental shifts expected at the federal level, along with an expert panel of local leaders who discussed how state and federal budget proposals could impact their region.

Look out for upcoming announcements of the next events in this series. Sponsorship opportunities are available.

 
On the Federal Front: How Could Executive Orders on Immigration and the Proposed ACA Roll-Back Affect Californians?

Two blog posts on California Budget Bites examine recent federal policy developments and their potential impact on California and other states. Senior Policy Analyst Sara Kimberlin looks at President Trump’s recent set of immigration orders and who would be affected in our state. This analysis estimates that undocumented immigrants make up approximately 6 percent of California’s total population and also highlights how strongly integrated into the economy and their communities these California residents are. Director of Research Scott Graves analyzed the plan that Republicans in the House of Representatives released last week for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This post details how under this plan, annual federal support for Medi-Cal would be reduced by billions — and potentially tens of billions — of dollars, a huge cost-shift to the state that would make it extremely difficult for California to preserve or build upon recent gains in health care coverage.
Where We’ll Be Next

Members of the California Budget & Policy Center’s team are looking forward to speaking at the following events this month: 

March 17, Sacramento: California Child Development Consortium Meeting

March 24, Northridge: California Child Care Resource Center, 26th Annual Policy Forum: The Road Ahead 

March 26, Sacramento: The Arc of California, 10th Annual Developmental Disabilities Policy Conference

March 27, Los Angeles: California Association of Realtors
Quotable

“With California’s families and communities facing significant threats from expected federal policy changes, it’s more important than ever to use the new CalEITC as an opportunity to maximize the federal dollars flowing to low-earning families in our state.”
 
— Alissa Anderson 
Budget Center Senior Policy Analyst
In a recent blog post on California Budget Bites
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