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Legislative and Budget Virtual Town Hall

 

Please join Assemblymember Phil Ting for a live discussion on what you think Callifornia’s legislative and budget priorities should be in 2021. Please tune in for the livestream on this webpage on Thursday, December 3 at 6:00 pm. You may also submit questions in advance here.  You may also tune in via Zoom with the Passcode 682021.

   LATEST NEWS

Friday, November 20, 2020

On Thursday, November 19, Assemblymember Phil Ting and leaders from San Francisco & San Mateo County schools hosted a live discussion on November 19 on what it will take to re-open and how we can keep everyone safe. You can view the livestream on YouTube or below:

 

Friday, November 20, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

Maya Katz-Ali said she never thought she would be able to afford an electric car. She thought it was something unattainable, something for the elite.

And in many ways, Katz-Ali is the opposite of a typical electric-car buyer in California: She’s 26, a woman and a person of color, and she doesn’t earn a six-figure salary. The Oakland native expected to drive her 1992 Volvo until it died.

That all changed last month, when Katz-Ali traded in her car for a new Honda Clarity plug-in electric hybrid with a fraction of the Volvo’s emissions. She bought it with the help of a state subsidy program.

“There’s lots of ideas that you have to be of a certain income bracket to be able to even think about” an electric car, Katz-Ali said. “It’s not just a Tesla thing. It’s not just a higher-class, higher-income thing.”

Electric-car advocates say her initial perception speaks to a diversity problem that the state must solve to reach Gov. Gavin Newsom’s goal of banning the sale of new gas-powered cars starting in 2035.

California drivers who buy electric vehicles overwhelmingly fit a narrow demographic profile. Most are male, white or Asian American, and between the ages of 30 and 49. The majority earn more than $100,000 a year and live in expensive coastal areas.

That’s according to data The Chronicle analyzed of buyers who received electric car rebates from the state Air Resources Board, California’s air-quality agency. 

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat and electric-car advocate, said one factor is a narrow range of electric car styles. Most are sedans or sports cars, models that appeal more to single, younger men.

“You have to offer the choices that people want,” Ting said. “The best-selling cars right now are trucks, SUVs and minivans.”

Ting said that will change dramatically in the next 15 years, as more automakers come out with larger electric models. He said the market for used, cheaper electric cars will also grow.

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Thursday, November 19, 2020
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

A quicker economic rebound than anticipated has softened California’s budget woes and will bring the state an estimated $26 billion windfall by the next fiscal year, the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported Wednesday.

But the one-time cushion is not enough to offset the severe financial losses of the coronavirus pandemic. The nonpartisan legislative analyst’s fiscal outlook warned that a projected multibillion-dollar operating deficit would more than triple over the next four years as rising costs outstrip the growth in tax revenue.

By 2024-25, California will face a budget gap of about $17.5 billion. Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek said policymakers should start considering solutions to the problem, which may require either spending cuts or new taxes, while there is time.

...

Assemblyman Phil Ting, the San Francisco Democrat who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, stressed the need for another round of financial aid from Congress, where negotiations for a relief package broke down last month.

“We cannot take our eye off the ball,” Ting said in a statement. “The improved fiscal outlook gives us a little breathing room, but we still need help from the federal government.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ting Statement on the Legislative Analyst’s Fiscal OutlookSacramento - Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released the following statement about California’s latest Fiscal Outlook from the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO):

Even though the state’s forecast projects a one-time surge in revenues, it also estimates large operating deficits in the near future. We cannot take our eye off the ball. Challenges related to COVID-19 remain, and while the wealthiest individuals and corporations have gotten richer during the pandemic, there are millions more struggling Californians and businesses that need support to weather ongoing economic uncertainty. That includes shoring up vital programs by reversing some of last year’s budget cuts and canceling scheduled funding suspensions, as well as preventing further reductions to core services.

The improved fiscal outlook gives us a little breathing room, but we still need help from the federal government to allow us to keep working on economic recovery, reopening schools, homelessness, rent relief, the climate crisis and wildfire prevention. I will be releasing the Assembly Budget Blueprint next month that will spell out our priorities in the coming year. I look forward to working with the Governor and the Senate in crafting a responsible spending plan that addresses the needs of all Californians.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

 

Publication: San Jose Mercury

Money will help move homeless hotel residents into housing

Gov. Gavin Newsom poured another $62 million into his waning Project Roomkey program Monday, part of an ongoing effort to prevent any of the more than 22,000 homeless Californians sheltering in pandemic hotels from ending up back on the street.

The money, which comes from the state’s Disaster Response Emergency Operations Account, will go to counties that have put up homeless Californians in hotels during the pandemic. The emergency cash injection comes as the pandemic hotels are starting to close in the Bay Area and beyond.

The bulk of the funds — $35 million — will go toward rehousing Project Roomkey residents. That money is for rental subsidies, case management, housing navigation and landlord incentives, and other housing expenses. Another $24 million will help prop up the existing Project Roomkey program, allowing residents to remain in their hotel rooms until they can obtain permanent housing. The last $3 million will go toward technical assistance — helping counties contract with experienced housing providers and create rehousing plans.

...

“While allocating more funding for Project Roomkey helps in the short-term,” said Budget Committee Chair Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), according to the news release. “I look forward to collaborative budget discussions with the administration about reducing homelessness, focusing on smart investments and long-term housing solutions.”

Monday, November 16, 2020

Letter In Support of Keeping Cars Off the Great HighwayAssemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and State Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) sent a letter to local transportation officials in strong support of maintaining Great Highway’s closure to vehicles. Since April 8th, it has provided valuable open space for residents to socially distance outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic, becoming vital to the physical and mental well-being of thousands of San Franciscans.(Photo Courtesy: SFGate.com)

Read the full letter here: Letter In Support of Keeping Cars Off the Great Highway

 

Friday, November 13, 2020

Publication: ABC 30/Fresno

There are more than 500 cases of COVID-19 among inmates at the Corcoran prison - that's about 11% of the prison population.

The number of inmates infected with the coronavirus at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran (SATF) has skyrocketed in recent weeks.

There are more than 500 cases of COVID-19 among inmates, or about 11% of the prison population.

There's concern that number could rise.

"They're all in the same prison but different yards are having different experiences," said Michelle Hoyt, whose boyfriend is an inmate at SATF.

...

This week, San Francisco Assemblymember Phil Ting and other members of the state legislature made it clear to prison officials that the practices of masking and distancing need to improve.

"We're going to ensure that the secretary (of CDCR) and the receiver (CCHCS) fully communicate that and ensure that they follow up with each of the wardens and each of the staff to make sure that staff are properly wearing masks at the various facilities," Ting said.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Publication: KCBS Radio News

We’ve been reminded about the importance of wearing masks for months now.

So why has that message apparently not been getting through to employees in California’s prison system? There have been deadly COVID-19 outbreaks throughout the state’s prisons, including a one that led to 28 deaths at San Quentin State Prison.

Another in Chino caused 27 deaths.

"The majority of custody staff refused to wear PPE and when this was reported to supervisors, the repeated response was that the mandates were unenforceable because these were adults," Inspector General Roy Wesley said an employee at one prison told his investigative team.

Correctional Health Care Services Director Dr. Joseph Bick was asked to explain the lack of compliance to members of the state Assembly, who questioned representatives of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Tuesday.

"I think what we see in our system really mirrors what we see across our country for a variety of reasons where there are people sowing doubt and confusion about whether masks are helpful or whether they’re harmful," Dr. Bick explained.

He clarified that he personally knows how important masks are.

Answering questions from Assemblyman Phil Ting, the Inspector General said enforcement is something that did not receive emphasis from headquarters until recently.

Ting: "When you say recently, are you talking about last week, last month?"

When pressed, Wesley said: "I’m talking last week."

"I think (the staff) simply didn’t have the wherewithal for whatever reason to make this a priority," he added.

Department Secretary Kathleen Allison told the hearing she has made expectations crystal clear to wardens.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Publication: Associated Press

When Henry Brown got his ballot in the mail last month, the 74-year-old California musician didn’t agonize over his decision. He filled it out and mailed it back on the same day.

“It’s more convenient, less stressful,” he said.

And it could soon become a permanent part of elections in the nation’s most populous state. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, all of California’s more than 22 million registered voters got a ballot in the mail at least 29 days before Election Day along with a postage-paid envelope to send it back. 

Now, California’s Democratic leaders are weighing whether to make those changes permanent.

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But with more than 25 million eligible voters, mailing ballots in California is more expensive. The Department of Finance said it cost $65 million just to mail ballots to all of the voters this year who don’t normally receive one — about 5.6 million people.

The state could do that this year, in part, because it had millions of dollars in coronavirus aid form the federal government. The state budget included $111.6 million for the election, with more than half of that coming from the federal government. Most of that money won’t be available for future elections.

Local governments typically pay for elections, but they get reimbursed for things the state requires them to do. 

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Assemblyman Phil Ting, the Democratic chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, said cost would be an issue. But he said mailing ballots could save money by resulting in fewer in-person polling locations and the people to staff them.