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As Assembly Budget Chair, I’m proud of the strides we’ve made to make higher education more accessible. It’s important to me to champion more slots for students at our public universities because I know a college degree can lead to brighter futures.

But as we expand enrollment, we must also build more student housing and have allocated a total of $4 billion over three years, from 2022 to 2025, to help the University of California, California State University and community colleges do that.

With the legislative year wrapped up, I wanted to highlight some of my key bills that the Governor recently signed into law:

AB 1817: Bans toxic substances called PFAS from fabrics. While these “forever chemicals” make clothing and other textiles water or stain resistant, they are harmful to human health and the environment.

October is here, and that means tax relief will soon be headed to most Californians’ bank accounts or mailboxes. As part of the latest state budget, we included approximately $9.5 billion in tax rebates to help fight global inflation that has raised the price of essentials, like groceries. Payments will range from $200 to $1,050, depending on the California Adjusted Gross Income stated on 2020 tax forms and the number of dependents claimed. Determine eligibility and/or estimate your refund here.

Join me at my next outdoor Community Town Hall, which will be held at the California Academy of Sciences on Saturday, October 1 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. We can discuss my recent legislation signed by the Governor and the many highlights of this year’s historic state budget. For our district, I was able to secure nearly $57 million for several community projects throughout San Francisco and northern San Mateo County.

As we ramp up for the next legislative year, please also share your concerns and ideas regarding what leaders can further do to move our state forward.

You’ve seen the big Peace Pagoda when visiting or driving by Japantown. A complete redesign and renovation of the surrounding plaza is planned, thanks to San Francisco’s 2020 voter-approved Health and Recovery Bond. But unexpected costs threaten to impact the project.

This week, I announced $6 million in state funding to make sure the work gets done as envisioned. As Assembly Budget Chair, I was determined to fight for this allocation in Sacramento because the state should be a partner in such efforts to make things right.

Happy College Savings Month! To celebrate, ScholarShare529, a state-sponsored college savings plan, is offering a $100 bonus when you open an account by the end of September with an initial deposit of $1,000 or more. Anyone can contribute thereafter. Watch earnings grow, then when it’s time, withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are tax-free at both the federal and state level. 

California continues to be at the center of the MPX (formerly known as monkeypox) outbreak with 4,140 reported cases, roughly 20% of the nation’s total. San Francisco has the state’s second highest number of reported cases in our state, with the tally at 763 as of September 9, 2022. It may be higher because many cases do not get reported.

It’s hard to believe Fall is just about here. I have scheduled two events that I hope you can attend. It’ll give us a chance to catch up on what I’ve recently accomplished in Sacramento.

I strongly encourage you to take public transit, walk or bike to these events.

Richmond District Autumn Moon Festival

As Assembly Budget Chair, I’m committed to ensuring the state continues investing in California’s Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. As part of that pledge, I announced $3.2 million in state funding today to help implement the Safe Routes to School program in Daly City. Located in our district, about 60% of its population is AAPI, with the majority identifying as Filipino or Chinese.

With many more Californians back on their pre-pandemic commutes, we are reminded of how crucial it is to have sustainable and reliable transportation options to move us between home, work, school and leisure. As the Assembly Budget Chair, I helped to secure billions for our state’s transportation infrastructure in the 2022-23 spending plan, improving and expanding how we get around.

With fall classes beginning for many college students this week, I’m reflecting on how our recent budget actions have opened doors to brighter futures. Every Californian deserves access to affordable and quality higher education.

The new school year is here! As a father of two and Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I’m happy to report the days of California’s low ranking for public education spending are over. Our latest state budget boosts TK-12 funding by a record 15%, propelling us into the top 15 nationwide for per-pupil spending – now nearing $23,000. As recently as 2011, we were 50th, spending less than $9,000 on a per-student basis.

Among the other highlights in this year’s budget:

Small businesses and nonprofits are still struggling as we continue to face new COVID-19 variants and increased costs due to inflation. Under the recently-adopted state budget, California has allocated $2.3 billion to help them stay afloat.

Small Biz

Among the highlights of the relief package:

With COVID-19 still persisting, millions of Californians remain reliant on social services and other assistance to help meet their basic needs. As Assembly Budget Chair, I’m happy to share the latest state budget has strengthened many of its safety net programs.

Our climate crisis is in need of young leaders ready to take action. I’m excited to see recruiting efforts ramp up for the California Climate Action Corps, a program that puts people to work in communities to support key projects in urban greening, organic waste, edible food recovery, and wildfire recovery.

For their eleven-month commitment beginning next month, Climate Action Corps Fellows receive a $30,000 living allowance and $10,000 in education awards that can be put towards college.