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Friday, March 22, 2019

he California Student Aid Commission approved $2.9 million in grants this week that will help nine local programs provide greater incentives for low-income families to build college savings accounts. Enacted through the FY 2017-18 state budget, the Every Kid Counts (EKC) College Savings Program received a one-time appropriation to support local programs in providing seed money to open accounts, incentivizing more deposits and educating families about program benefits.

“We must do more to give all children the opportunity to follow their dreams,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee and champion of the EKC College Savings Program. “This investment helps increase the likelihood students will pursue a certificate or degree, opening the door to many great career paths.”

California Programs That Help Low-Income Families Save for College Receive Nearly $3 Million in State GrantsWhen a student turns 18 years old, local programs supported by the EKC College Savings Program allow funds to be withdrawn for post-secondary tuition (including vocational and trade schools), room and board, books, supplies, equipment and mandatory fees. The nine grant recipients are:

  • San Francisco Kindergarten to College ($926,892)
  • El Monte Promise Foundation ($448,044)
  • The Oakland Promise Kindergarten to College (K2C) Program ($405,038)
  • Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department ($286,583)
  • United Way California Capitol Region ($286,172)
  • Glendale Unified School District ($197,915)
  • City of West Sacramento ($148,576)
  • Corazon Healdsburg ($110,779)
  • Santa Cruz Community Ventures ($100,000)  

In his January budget proposal, Governor Newsom put forth $50 million to support pilot programs and partnerships that increase access to college savings accounts among incoming kindergartners. Lawmakers are expected to discuss the proposal in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Ting Joins Big City Mayors Call for More State Resources to Address Homelessness

Mayors from California’s 13 largest cities will meet with the governor and legislative leaders to advocate for additional state resources in the 2019 budget to address the ongoing homelessness crisis. The mayors highlighted the success of the Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP), an allocation of $500 million – of which $150 million went directly to cities with a population of 300,000 or more – that is on track to produce more than 4,000 new shelter beds across the state.

"Last year, the state laid the foundation to get thousands of people off the streets and into housing,” said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, chairman of the Big City Mayors coalition. "We look forward to continuing to work with the governor and legislature to increase that historic investment so cities can fund to scale the programs and strategies that are most effective at addressing the urgent crisis of homelessness.”

California’s homeless population now stands at 134,278, according to 2017 statewide counts – an increase of 16% from 2015. Half of all the country’s homeless are in California; nearly half of California’s homeless are in the state’s 13 largest cities.

“State and local partnerships are critical to tackling issues as big as our homeless crisis. Last year, California’s significant investment in emergency assistance enabled cities to quickly ramp up the number of beds and services available in the hardest hit communities. But we need to do more to truly solve this problem. I look forward to working with all stakeholders to determine how we can keep moving people off the streets and into affordable housing,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), who helped the Big City Mayors secure HEAP funding in the 2018-2019 state budget.

Across the state, cities have utilized HEAP funds to dramatically increase capacity for low-barrier shelters, Navigation Centers, Bridge Housing, rental subsidies, and other supportive services to get of traditionally hard-to-serve people into housing. The mayors highlighted how quickly the state was able to disburse funds to local governments, allocating resources according to need as demonstrated by 2017 PIT Counts, and the flexibility of what resources could be spent on as critical components of the program’s success.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Ting Promotes CalEITC with Chinese Newcomers & United Way Bay AreaThe tax deadline is fast approaching! This year, one million more Californians may be eligible for a state refund under the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), which was expanded again for the 2018 tax year. Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, championed the effort during negotiations in 2018. Research has shown that EITCs are an effective anti-poverty tool.

CalEITC put nearly $350 million directly in the hands of 1.4 million people last year, tripling the number of households that claimed the credit when compared to the prior year. This year, the Franchise Tax Board reports 39% more people have claimed the CalEITC compared to this time last year, already receiving $180 million back.

“California’s strong economy enables us to give a modest income boost to the families that need it the most,” said Ting. “Close to half of Californians who claimed the state Earned Income Tax Credit last year are single-parent households with children, and a refund can be life-changing for them. Adding self-employed workers for the first time in the 2017 tax year, particularly those in the gig economy, was especially impactful.”

Workers must file an income tax return in order to get the refund, even if they don’t owe any taxes. Every year, California leaves $2 billion of unclaimed state and federal EITC money on the table.  Help us spread the word! Numerous non-profits can connect workers with free tax preparation services. This year, taxes are due by Monday, April 15th

Thursday, March 7, 2019

First-In-The-Nation Legislation Introduced To Automate Arrest and Conviction ReliefAB 1076 is a groundbreaking, comprehensive clean slate effort that leverages technology to clear records at scale by automating existing laws

Today, District Attorney George Gascón and Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) announced the introduction of AB 1076, a revolutionary effort to efficiently automate arrest and conviction relief at the California Department of Justice.  Using technology, this policy will automate the process for those who are already entitled to record clearance relief under existing laws.  By eliminating barriers to successful reentry, AB 1076 will provide millions of Californians with renewed employment, housing and education opportunities.

“Millions of Californians are living in a paper prison,” said District Attorney George Gascón.  “A huge number of people are entitled to relief that they’ll never realize because they have to jump through hoops to get it. The system has erected bureaucratic barriers that disproportionately impact communities of color, barriers that undermine the likelihood of successful reentry by limiting access to employment and housing.  With a few key strokes California can enhance public safety and equity while reducing recidivism and taxpayer spending.  AB 1076 will not only modernize our system of justice, it’s a model for the justice system.”

“Everybody deserves a second chance.  We must open doors for those facing housing and employment barriers and use available technology to clear arrest and criminal records for individuals already eligible for relief.  There is a great cost to our economy and society when we shut out job-seeking workers looking for a better future,” said Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), author of AB 1076.

Studies show that lack of access to employment and housing are primary factors that drive individuals to reoffend.  As a result, barriers to criminal record relief reduce the likelihood of successful reentry and harm public safety.  They also perpetuate the long history of disproportionate impact of the justice system on socioeconomically disadvantaged communities, and communities of color in particular. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Ting Proposal Allows Cannabis Businesses To Make Tax Payments with CryptocurrencyCalifornia could become the second state to accept virtual currency for tax payments

It’s hard to believe that paying taxes can be dangerous, but it is for California’s cannabis businesses, which cannot open bank accounts because the federal government still categorizes marijuana as an illegal substance. As a result, the $1 billion industry is run almost entirely on cash and businesses often have to hire armored trucks to deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax payments to state and local governments. Under AB 953, Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) proposes to allow cryptocurrency as an accepted form of payment for cannabis-generated taxes.

“It’s very risky for cannabis businesses to transport large amounts of cash in order to pay their tax bills. Too many things can go wrong. Cryptocurrency offers a solution that’s safer and cheaper for the industry," said Ting, author of the landmark bill. "Lowering the cost to pay taxes will also help combat black market activity and encourage more businesses to get licensed.”

Monday, March 4, 2019
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris Named District 19's 2019 Woman of the Year

It’s my pleasure to name Dr. Nadine Burke Harris as my district’s Woman Of The Year! She has been a pioneer in establishing the link between childhood trauma & health problems later in life, and treating the problem as a public health crisis. She’s now CA’s new Surgeon General!

Monday, March 4, 2019
Assemblymember Ting Honors AD 19 Woman of the Year - Nadine Burke Harris, CA's new Surgeon General
Assemblymember Ting Honors AD 19 Woman of the Year - Nadine Burke Harris, CA's new Surgeon General
Assemblymember Ting Honors AD 19 Woman of the Year - Nadine Burke Harris, CA's new Surgeon General
Assemblymember Ting Honors AD 19 Woman of the Year - Nadine Burke Harris, CA's new Surgeon General
Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Ting Announces $4.5 Million in New State Grants to Bring Fresh, Healthy Foods to Underserved Neighborhoods

Access to fresh, healthy food is a problem for many Californians, particularly those who live in food deserts where no grocery stores or supermarkets are located. But help is on the way! Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) today announced the availability of $4.5 million in state grants to enable corner stores and small markets to purchase energy efficient refrigeration units. In return, beneficiaries of the Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program agree to carry California-grown produce and other healthier options.

“Your address shouldn’t determine your diet,” said Ting, who helped create the program and secure grant funding as Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee. “The state is stepping in to ensure more people have access to healthy and nutritious foods no matter where they live.”

Without grocery stores close by, residents of underserved communities have no choice but to shop at corner markets, which do not always have the resources to stock fresh food. This void contributes to diet-related diseases and, ultimately, poor health. The Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program enables existing markets to offer residents better choices.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019