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December 2016

As 2016 winds to a close, the Budget Center is gearing up for the new legislative session and the 2017 budget season.

Each year’s policy deliberations are a chance to strengthen California by broadening prosperity and addressing the key economic changes facing our state. But in the coming year, the stakes seem much greater, since they are set against the backdrop of a federal policy picture that is changing dramatically and in some deeply troubling ways.

But California can lead on making policy choices that foster social and economic inclusion. This would build on the progress of this past year, which ranged from raising the state minimum wage to extending income tax increases on the wealthiest Californians to approving new criminal justice reforms. Our team looks forward to continuing to provide the timely research, analysis, and commentary that advance policies focused on creating an economy that works for all.

From everyone at the California Budget & Policy Center, best wishes for a happy holiday season.  

Steven Bliss
Director, Strategic Communications 
Annual Budget Preview, December 13

The Budget Center is pleased to be launching our Policy Perspectives Speakers Series with our annual budget preview event, The State Budget Process and Key Issues to Watch for in 2017. This free, half-day event includes two sessions: First, our Director of Research Scott Graves will present Dollars and Democracy: An Introduction to the State Budget Process. This will be followed by State Budget Preview: What to Expect in 2017, a panel discussion that looks ahead to the upcoming budget season against the backdrop of big changes expected at the federal policy level. Panelists will include Frank Mecca of the County Welfare Directors Association of California, Edwin Park with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and others.

This event will be held Tuesday, December 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at The California Endowment Sacramento. Registration is already full, but you can watch the event live on our Facebook page. If you don't have a ticket and are still interested in attending in person, visit the event page to join the waiting list.

Federal Health Care Reform Gains Now in Jeopardy

Enacted in 2010, the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) has significantly reduced the share of Californians who lack health care coverage. However, if President-elect Donald Trump and other Republican leaders follow through on their vow to repeal or significantly roll back the ACA, these recent gains will be put in serious danger. Recent Budget Center analyses have looked at what's at stake. These include:   
  • A Fact Sheet  highlighting how implementation of the ACA in California has caused uninsured rates in the state to fall across different age, racial, and ethnic groups. 
  • A blog post from Director of Research Scott Graves on how California could lose its recent health care coverage gains if federal health care reform is repealed or scaled back. 
  • A Fact Sheet that provides a county-by-county look at enrollment in Medi-Cal, the Medicaid program in California.
In the coming months, we’ll continue to provide analysis and commentary on the emerging federal debate over the fate of the ACA and what it means for our state.
The Future of Retirement Savings in California

On November 17 in Sacramento, we were pleased to join with The Pew Charitable Trusts in convening a special half-day event, The Future of Retirement Savings in California: Implementing Secure ChoiceThis event featured a keynote address from California State Controller Betty Yee and offered a variety of other expert perspectives on what Secure Choice, the new, state-mandated retirement plan for the private sector, will mean for employees and employers. In the days prior to the event, the Budget Center's Chris Hoene and The Pew Trusts' John Scott authored a Sacramento Bee op-ed highlighting some of the keys to getting Secure Choice implementation right.

Click here to view the event video.

A Better Measure of Economic Hardship in California

Our recent Fact Sheet uses the latest figures from the US Census Bureau's Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) to show how widespread economic hardship is in California, once the costs of living and other factors are accounted for. This analysis examines the SPM by age group and by race and ethnicity in our state.

Where We've Been

The Budget Center's Chris Hoene delivered his presentation "A Snapshot of Poverty in California" for the Asset Funders Network's 6th Annual Asset Building Symposium – Fostering Economic Equity in a Changing Bay Area. This event brought together funders, researchers, nonprofit and public-sector staff, policymakers, and others for a conversation around promoting economic opportunity and equity in the Bay Area's dynamic economy. As part of this event, Chris and Western Center on Law & Poverty’s Jessica Bartholow discussed policy approaches for addressing economic hardship (below). 

Policy Insights 2017 Is March 2nd

Our annual conference is coming up on March 2! Policy Insights brings together hundreds of policymakers, advocates, researchers, and other leaders to discuss how California can broaden economic opportunity and help low- and middle-income families to advance. More details, including topics and speakers, coming soon!  Early-bird registration is available as are sponsorship opportunities.

"The Budget Center’s work is invaluable in bringing thoughtfulness, research, and progressive viewpoints to the public policymaking conversation."
 Nicole Vazquez
Deputy Chief & Human Services Consultant
Assembly Budget Committee
Your support allows us to continue to prepare for and respond to critical issues and key policy questions facing California. Thank you for considering a donation to the Budget Center.
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