Late Thursday afternoon, a budget deal was announced that repeals the Maximum Family Grant (MFG) rule, provides additional funding for naturalization and other immigration services and funds teacher empowerment and recruitment items as well as additional early childhood education.
Authorization to purchase lethal drugs for Medi-Cal patients, while receiving no support from Assembly budget negotiators, is still apparently included albeit at a reduced rate as the program is “phased in.” Fortunately, funding for an assisted-suicide “hotline” was not included in the final budget.
Also missing is discussion on the future for the Earned Income Tax Credit, the bipartisan effort that has been shown to be one of the most effective tools in the arsenal fighting poverty.
Support from Catholic Legislative Network members helped turn the corner on repeal of the MFG Rule – a multi-year effort involving a diverse coalition of supports.
California has been one of the few states to retain this misguided regulation that said that any child born into a household while another family member received aid would not get any assistance. Research has shown this rule to be harmful and that it may lead to more abortions as mothers suffer the financial strains of raising families. (Read the Catholic Advocacy Day backgrounder.)
Member support also was instrumental in securing an additional $5 million on top of the $10 million already in the budget to support naturalization funding and the assistance programs known as Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). The additional funding will help secure a strong investment in One California.
The budget advances two of our top education priorities on the strengthening the teaching profession and access to high quality early childhood education. Opportunities to offer four‑year integrated teacher credential programs have been created and the California Center on Teaching Careers was re-established. Transitional Kindergarten was preserved, which the Governor had proposed eliminating, and early childhood funding will grow by nearly $500 million to add 8,877 additional slots to full-day State Preschool over four years.
Subsidized housing programs and housing for the mentally ill, too, received a boost when lawmakers agreed with the Governor to set aside additional rainy day reserve funding.
Lawmakers and the Governor face a June 15 deadline to complete the budget. They have been in negotiations all week but the deal was not announced until just a short time before legislators began voting on its component bill.
Not all details are known yet – there are still some questions. Those will be revealed as the Senate and Assembly vote on a series of ‘trailer bills’ that formalize their negotiations.