Investing in California’s Future
By Assemblymember Phil Ting
Three years ago, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon placed his trust in me to chair the Assembly Budget Committee. I have striven to preside over a budget-writing process that is transparent and open to public participation. I am proud to announce that last month, we worked with our new governor, Gavin Newsom, to pass my fourth on-time and balanced budget that makes investments to address key needs facing our state’s 40 million residents.
Our budget is a reflection of our values and we are committed to investing in education, health care, human services and housing. We are taking strides to address our state’s homeless crisis and we are finally going to ensure that every resident of our state has access to clean drinking water. We are also paying off the “wall of debt” incurred during the Great Recession and making $4 billion in additional payments on our state’s pension liabilities.
This budget continues our move towards universal preschool and child care, with a combined $266 million increase in ongoing funds. One-time investments are made to build capacity in our early care system by growing the work force and adding facilities. We are also lengthening the duration of paid family leave one can take to care for a loved one or bond with a new child.
Public schools will see a record level of funding, about $81 billion in Prop. 98 funds, to bring our investment to more than $12,000 per student. We are also providing $3 billion to relieve school districts’ pension liabilities, freeing up local funds for other student priorities. The University of California and California State University will also get 15,000 new slots for undergraduates. The College Promise program will now waive fees for a second year of community college and the Cal Grant program will grow by an additional 15,000 awards for qualified students. The budget also includes $50 million to support Child Savings Account programs, like the one we have here in San Francisco, to help future college-bound students. Locally, City College of San Francisco will receive $69 million to upgrade aging infrastructure.
Our state’s linked crises of housing affordability and homelessness remain priorities, with $650 million going to localities to combat homelessness and an additional $500 million going directly to build more housing. We are also expanding the low-income housing tax credit and homeowner loan programs through the California Housing Finance Agency by a combined $1 billion.
This budget brings us closer to universal, affordable health coverage. Low- and middle-income Californians will get more Covered California subsidies and Medi-Cal will cover more seniors as well as young adults ages 19-25 regardless of immigration status, saving money on emergency room visits. Additionally, we finally restored “optional” Medi-Cal benefits, like optical care and podiatry, that were slashed during the recession.
Here on the west side of San Francisco, this budget includes local investments, such as $1 million for new firefighting equipment to serve our neighborhoods and $300,000 to identify sites that can be developed for affordable housing. I was also able to secure $400,000 to help finish the renovation of West Portal Playground and almost $1.4 million for the renovation of Merced Heights Playground.
I am proud to be your representative in Sacramento and I welcome your input on our state’s budget and legislation. Please feel free to reach out to my district office at (415) 557-2312 to learn more or share your ideas.
Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the west side of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.