You could say the new year started early here at the California Budget & Policy Center. In anticipation of the upcoming change in Presidential administrations — which promises to reshape federal spending and other policies — we've been busy highlighting what these changes could mean for essential public services in California, like health coverage for low-income individuals and families and subsidized child care. Looking ahead, we'll continue to weigh in on major proposals at the federal level as they emerge.
January also brings the official start of state budget season, with the release of Governor Brown's proposed budget for the next fiscal year (which begins on July 1) coming in the next several days. Again this year, the Budget Center will provide in-depth analysis and commentary on state spending proposals and related debates, placing them in their broader economic context and keeping you informed and engaged at every step along the way.
Director, Strategic Communications
Keeping a Close Watch on the Federal Front
With Donald Trump's win in the Presidential election, it is likely that we'll see significant cuts in federal funding in the coming months. Two recent Budget Center analyses shed light on what could be at stake for California. One recent Fact Sheet highlights how important federal dollars are to the state budget, showing that federal funds make up more than one-third of the California budget. Most of these federal dollars support health and human services, which includes California's Medicaid program, Medi-Cal. Our recent Medi-Cal Fact Sheet, which features county-by-county enrollment figures, shows that this program serves more than 13 million people across all 58 countiesand that in 49 of these counties over one-quarter of residents are enrolled.
If Trump and other Republican leaders follow through on their proposals to repeal the Affordable Care Act and substantially reduce Medicaid funding, Medi-Cal will be put at risk of losing vital funding.
California's Shortage of Subsidized Child Care Affects Well Over a Million Children
A recent Budget Center analysis highlighted the great unmet need for subsidized child care in our state. This Fact Sheet shows that an estimated 1.5 million California children were eligible for subsidized child care in 2015, but only 1 in 7 of them (218,000) received services from state programs. This analysis highlights the importance of federal and state support for subsidized child care for low- and moderate-income families in California and the need for greater public investment in subsidized care. Helping families to afford child care allows parents to find and retain work, while also providing children with access to safe environments where they can learn and grow.
Our Policy Perspectives Speakers Series Has Launched
For the first event in the Budget Center's new Policy Perspectives Speakers Series, on December 13 we held our annual budget preview, The State Budget Process and Key Issues to Watch for in 2017. More than 100 people attended in-person at The California Endowment’s Sacramento Meeting Place, and dozens more watched the event via live webcast.
The Budget Center's Scott Graves led off the event by providing an overview of the state budget process. Next, a panel discussion featuring Frank Mecca of the County Welfare Directors Association of California, Edwin Park of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and Chris Hoene of the Budget Center explored key questions that will shape the 2017 budget debate in California, especially amid major changes expected at the federal level.
From left to right: Chris Hoene, Frank Mecca, and Edwin Park
Now available on the Budget Center's website are resources from this event:
Policy Insights 2017 Is March 2. What Would You Like to See?
We hope you can join us for Policy Insights 2017, our annual conference, in Sacramento on March 2. Policy Insights is the premier conference for advocates, policymakers, researchers, and other leaders working to improve the lives of low- and middle-income Californians. Among other timely topics, the event will explore the federal budget outlook and how it may affect funding for education, health care, and other vital public services and systems.
We're interested in your input on topics or questions that should be addressed at Policy Insights 2017. Are there any "must-have" speakers that we should try to add to the discussions? Issues you'd like to see covered? Send any ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also Tweet your ideas to us at @CalBudgetCenter using the hashtag #PolicyInsights2017.
Scott Graves recently joined The Center at Sierra Health Foundation and the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund in Merced for the "San Joaquin Valley Health Fund Partner Convening." The event covered a range of topics within the context of health and racial equity, including education, equitable land-use planning, food and nutrition, healthy living environments, and immigration. Scott presented at and led the breakout session: “Dollars and Democracy: A Guide to the County Budget Process.”
"The California state budget is essentially a collective statement about the kind of California that we want to live in."