Legislature Passes Balanced, On-Time State Budget Over The Weekend

Monday, June 16, 2014

State Budget codifies Bonta’s CalSTRS’ unfunded liability fix (AB 611) and his bill to eliminate part-day preschool fees (AB 1902)

(Sacramento, CA) - Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) issued the following statement after the Legislature passed one of its strongest state budgets over the weekend, keeping the state on track for its fourth consecutive balanced budget in as many years, and codifying two of Bonta’s key legislative proposals:

“As we continue to celebrate California’s legislative successes this session, including being the first state to implement the Affordable Care Act, providing drivers licenses to undocumented immigrants, increasing the minimum wage to one of the highest in the nation, and increasing education funding throughout the state, while adopting a funding distribution formula---the Local Control Funding Formula---that provides additional funding to students who need it most, we can now add to the list a fourth on-time balanced budget that further ensures the economic stability of our state and expands opportunities for all Californians,” said Bonta.

“The budget we passed this weekend importantly reflects the state’s continued goals of fiscal responsibility, strengthening the Middle Class, and delivering effective, efficient services for all areas throughout California, including Oakland, Alameda, and San Leandro.”

The budget codifies two key pieces of legislation authored by Assemblymember Bonta: his CalSTRS unfunded liability fix, AB 611, and his bill to eliminate part-day preschool fees, AB 1902.

As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Public Employees, Retirement, and Social Security, Bonta convened a series of hearings over the last several months to address the approximately $74 billion CalSTRS funding shortfall, including two joint hearings with the Senate Public Employment and Retirement Committee, and carried AB 611 as a vehicle to address that shortfall.

“I’m encouraged that the budget we passed this weekend reflects the hard work done by the Assembly to tackle this most urgent long-term fiscal challenge facing California and that it closely reflects the solutions my committee identified through its numerous hearings this year.”

Also included in the Budget is Bonta’s AB 1902. “All of our children have the right to a quality education. In order to make this possible, we must provide access to early education for all families, including those from low-income communities,” Bonta explained. “By eliminating family fees for part-day preschool, California will provide some of our most vulnerable children with high quality early childhood education, and therefore will provide them with the tools they need to be successful later in life.”

Assemblymember Bonta outlined a few of the other key areas of the budget:

Economic Recovery

  • Pays Down Debt.
  • Sets the Stage for a strong "Rainy Day Fund" to protect against economic downturns.
  • Provides $2 million for Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) that will be matched by the Federal government. (Bonta authored AB 2717 that would have increased funding for SBDCs and he is pleased that these funding needs are addressed through the budget).
  • Increases access to justice through increased funding to the courts).
  • Solves the underfunding of the State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) through a shared-responsibility approach.

Education

  • Increases funding to school districts throughout the state by increasing Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF)  funding by $4.7 billion, $250 million more than proposed by the Governor, providing additional resources for low-income, English language learner, and foster students.
  • Provides $400 million for Common Core implementation, ensuring children receive high-quality education that properly prepares them for graduation.
  • Increases funding for UC, CSU, and community colleges by $442 million, including $30 million for the Disabled Student Programs and Services Program.
  • Establishes an 18-month moratorium on CSU campus fee increases.

Public Safety/Recidivism/Re-Entry

  • Provides $91 million for recidivism reduction investments, including $10 million from the General Fund to eliminate the CalFRESH and CalWORKS ban for non-violent drug felons. (Bonta co-authored SB 1029 that would have made this eligibility change legislatively, and he is pleased that it was addressed through the budget.
  • Increases access to justice through increased funding to the courts).

Health Care and Safety Net Services

  • Provides major increases of $100 million for child care and $155 million for preschool.
  • Rejects the Governor’s overtime ban for IHSS and other developmental services
  • Strengthens the CalWORKS Program by increasing grants by 5 percent and increasing funding to combat homelessness among CalWORKS families.
  • Expands Medi-Cal to ensure coverage for millions of Californians under the Affordable Care Act.
  • Increases funding for Mental Health Services and Facilities and expands Mental Health Services for Medi-Cal recipients. 
  • Reestablishes the Black Infant Health Program and funds HIV projects.
  • Improves services for Veterans.

“I am committed to providing children safe and strong public schools, protecting the safety net for the working poor, creating safer streets, and growing jobs and safe communities in California. The budget we passed over the weekend is balanced, on-time, fiscally sound, and both restores funding and provides new funding for essential programs that reinvest in education, protect struggling students and the Middle Class, revitalize the economy and create jobs, and strengthen critical health and human services. This year’s budget is a strong indicator that California continues on its path to full recovery and beyond,” Bonta concluded.