This week, the California Senate and the Assembly passed an unprecedented budget. While Governor Gavin Newsom has yet to sign Assembly Bill 129: the Budget Act of 2021, this measure does represent a three-party agreement between the Senate, Assembly, and the Newsom Administration.
The total budget spending package is $262.6 billion, of which $196.4 million is from the General Fund. The state is using $11 billion to pay off all the Proposition 98 money owed to schools, which was borrowed to deal with last year’s budget crises. Over $25 billion is being saved in various reserve accounts to create safety buffers for unanticipated volatility and to put the state on solid fiscal footing.
“I wholehearted support this fiscally responsible and equity-oriented budget,” said Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena). “This budget will empower Californians to recover from the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic through direct assistance, equitable policy reforms, and new investments in our communities. If there were ever a time when we needed a robust and bold budget, it is now — and that is what we have delivered.”
The Budget Act of 2021 makes needed and helpful investments, specifically into Senate District 35, including, but not limited to, the following:
- $60 million to California State University Dominguez Hills to address infrastructure needs;
- $50 million for Charles Drew University to construct a medicine and science building and to support more people of color going into the health profession;
- $10 million to Martin Luther King, Jr., Community Hospital to provide infrastructure and workforce support;
- $8.5 million for the Inglewood Market Street Streetscape Improvement Program and the Market Street Facade and Tenant Improvement Program;
- $1.2 million to the Boys & Girls Club of the Los Angeles Harbor for restoration of the Cheryl Green Center for children to play and learn;
- $3.5 million for the Los Angeles Black Worker Center to create the Workforce Equity Demonstration Project to assist more workers in obtaining government jobs; and,
- $1 million to the Mervyn M. Dymally African American Political & Economic Institute at California State University Dominguez Hills.
“Today’s news represents a historic milestone for the CSU system and the Toro Nation. Becoming the model urban university requires an alignment between an aspirational vision, a commitment from the CSU and the State legislature to support its most underserved and vulnerable students, and the allocation of critical funding to long neglected infrastructure needs,” said Thomas A Parham, president, CSU Dominguez Hills. “This allocation will help address aging power-grids, support a Health & Wellness Recreation Center, and meet nutritional needs of students with the addition of a dining hall.”
“Scholar and twentieth century intellectual, W.E.B. Du Bois asked, “What does integrity look like in the face of oppression?” This historic investment in our campus is what integrity looks like. I appreciate the Governor, state legislature, and the California Legislative Black Caucus for their commitment to CSUDH and the communities we serve and am especially grateful for the strong advocacy and leadership of State Senator Steve Bradford,” said President Parham.
“Words cannot adequately express our sincere thanks to the Legislature and Newsom Administration for funding the “resurrection” of the Cheryl Green Center,” said Mike Lansing, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor. “So many students’ lives will be changed, and in some cases saved, because of the investment in our young people who only need a helping hand. Our heartfelt thanks to Senator Bradford and his team for working with us to secure funding for the Cheryl Green Center.”
“With the Legislature’s $50 million investment into the campus of Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, we will be able to do more of what we do well and anticipate adding 60 new medical students to South L.A. in Fall 2023,” said Dr. David Carlisle, president and chief executive officer, Charles Drew University. “Based on our existing track record, we will increase the number of Black doctors practicing in the State of California by more than 30% and the number of Latinx graduates by nearly 20%. The Legislature has taken a significant step to fulfill the promise that then-Governor Pat Brown made to the Black community in the aftermath of the Watts Rebellion.”
Notable overall investments in The Budget Act of 2021-22 include, but are not limited to:
- Another modified round of the Golden State Stimulus, which will provide direct relief to Californians with income up to $75,000, with the amount of assistance varying from $500 to $1,100 depending on a family’s filing status;
- Extension of the eviction moratorium for non-payment of rent to September 30, 2021 and 100 percent rent COVID rent forgiveness;
- $1.5 billion in grants to small business and non-profits;
- $12 billion to prevent homelessness;
- An additional 120,000 child care slots in fiscal year 2021-22, and increasing an additional 80,000 slots over the next four years;
- $3 billion one-time to launch a statewide Initiative to foster community schools in over 1000 campuses where students and their families’ health and services needs can be met with the overarching goal of supporting academic success;
- $1 billion ongoing and $753 million one-time to expand afterschool and summer school enrichment programs for low-income students;
- Expansion of Medi-Cal to adults age 50 and older regardless of immigration status;
- $151 million to eliminate criminal administrative fees that create a poverty and debt trap for the many who cannot afford to pay them; and,
- $30 million to help cannabis equity applicants and licensees pay for the cost of licensing fees.
“This budget has equity built into its core. For years, the State has allowed counties and courts to impose user fees in the criminal system to pay for the cost of operations — disproportionately at the expense of people of color. This government-created debt becomes a shackle that keeps our people down even after they do their time and pay their debt to society. This budget works with my SB 586 to solve this problem by eliminating criminal administrative fees,” said Senator Bradford.
“This budget also allocates $30 million directly to cannabis equity applicants and licensees for fee waivers, helping them overcome a huge hurdle to the legal market and accomplishing my goal from this year in SB 603, as well as building on all my prior cannabis equity measures. I am grateful to President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senator Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley), for their support of these righteous causes. I am also thankful to the many passionate community-based organizations who have banded together to undo the systemic racism that exist in state law and policy.”