Monday, August 10, 2020

Publication: Los Angeles Times

With millions of Californians jobless during the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday that the state would face “massive” budget cuts if it carried out President Trump’s plan to have states provide $100 of a $400 supplemental weekly unemployment benefit.

Newsom and legislative leaders called on federal officials to overcome a stalemate involving Congress and the president to provide additional funding for states now that a $600 weekly unemployment payment from the federal government has expired. He noted that the plan would cost the state at least $700 million per week and up to $2.8 billion if the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act funding is depleted.


If Trump’s order only provides $300 a week, California would have to come up with the same amount to maintain the $600 supplemental payment.

Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chairman of the Assembly Budget Committee, said Monday that legislative leaders are working to find a solution.

“Supplemental unemployment benefits have worked in the short term to help many families keep a roof over their heads and put food on the table,” Ting said. “That stability is now at risk. If federal payments fall short of $600 per week, California must do all it can to make up the difference, as long as the jobless rate remains high.”

Ting is a leader of a legislative working group that proposed the state consider borrowing money from a federal trust fund to extend supplemental unemployment benefits. The state has borrowed from that fund to help pay benefits to the more than 9 million Californians who have applied for unemployment.

Traditionally, the federal loans are paid back by increasing payroll taxes paid by employers.

“We’re discussing with the governor’s office on how to move forward on this aid, including ways to fund it without putting additional burdens on small businesses,” Ting said.


Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Publication: KTVU Fox 2 Bay Area

Millions of Californians received their last $600 supplemental unemployment benefit last week. There's disagreement on Capitol Hill over how to continue the program.

House Democrats want to extend the boost, Senate Republicans unveiled their relief plan which includes cutting the benefit to $200.

If that's what Congress decides, Democrats in the California legislature want to step in.

“If that benefit is working in the short term, I don’t know why we’re stopping it," said Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), chair of the budget committee. "Because the last thing we need is thousands of people evicted onto the streets.”

Assemblyman Ting and other CA Democratic legislative leaders released a $100 billion coronavirus stimulus outline. The list of proposals includes a plan to borrow federal money to fill gaps in unemployment insurance, if the $600 payment is cut. It also extends the benefit to undocumented workers who lost jobs. 

“Millions of Californians who are struggling, they’re one unemployment check away from not being able to pay rent, buy food," said Ting.  "We know they have nowhere else to turn.” 

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Publication: Voice of America

At least 2,100 anti-Asian hate incidents have been reported in the United States since March. Asian-American activists say the racism is being fueled in part by political speeches against China in connection with the coronavirus pandemic.

The Los Angeles-based Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council is a coalition of organizations that support the rights and needs of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans. The organization is gathering reports called Stop AAPI Hate of incidents against Asian-Americans.

It says most of the incidents were cases of hate speech, like racial insults. But it said about 8 percent involved physical attacks, including spitting on victims and bans against Asians from businesses.


Trump began to accuse China of delays in reporting news of the outbreak in Wuhan. He also said China had not reported on the severity of COVID-19 and its spread.

Trump also has repeatedly described the new coronavirus as the “Chinese virus” and “kung-flu.” Asian Americans and others say the terms are derogatory and have led people to blame them for the disease.


Phil Ting, a state assemblyman in California, said those words have led to an increase in anti-Asian behavior and hate crimes. “You see leaders express words that really give license to other people to express those same sentiments and also to act on them,” Ting said.

Friday, June 26, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

SACRAMENTO — The California Legislature approved a $202 billion state budget deal that largely avoids widespread cuts to public services to close a multibillion-dollar deficit caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The agreement, which went to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature after the Assembly gave final approval Friday, relies on reserve accounts and internal borrowing — as well as the hope of a federal bailout — to maintain education, health care and social services spending.

But some programs would suffer significant reductions, including hundreds of millions for subsidized preschool slots, child care centers and environmental protection.

“We could have made more cuts. We could have had a budget that was better for our bond rating,” Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said on the Assembly floor. “We could have done something that was better for Wall Street, but in the end, we wanted to make sure the money got to Main Street.” 

Monday, June 15, 2020

Publication: Capitol Public Radio

Lawmakers in California’s Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a version of the budget on-schedule Monday, meeting their constitutional deadline — but are still negotiating on a final product with Gov. Gavin Newsom. 

The budget is considered a framework for ongoing talks with Newsom’s administration as the start of a new fiscal year looms. 


“We are at a time when people need their government and their services more than ever,” said Assembly Budget Chairman Phil Ting, D- San Francisco. “We shouldn’t retreat. We should do the opposite — go and help.”


Saturday, June 13, 2020

Publication: Sacramento Bee

From credit card support to an online field office, California’s Department of Motor Vehicles has made a swath of changes to its customer experience in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic.

Last year, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s strike team uncovered critical problems in the department’s command structure and customer service capabilities.

Now, after working through a pandemic that closed all of its offices for more than two months, DMV Director Steve Gordon said the department has made some necessary changes.


One of the outspoken critics, Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, said this week that the department is taking steps in the right direction.

“The DMV’s job during the pandemic wasn’t easy, balancing health and safety with the public’s needs,” he said in a statement. “But new leadership also saw these challenging times as an opportunity to implement some improvements, such a redesigned website that’s more user-friendly and the creation of a virtual office. These changes have led us toward a department of the future that better serves Californians.”


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Publications: KCRA-TV

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The state budget is due in less than three weeks and lawmakers are still divided over how to balance a $54 billion deficit.

While wearing face masks on Tuesday, lawmakers did something they haven’t done in 25 years: They met in the Assembly chamber as a Committee of the Whole.

The last time they did so was 1995 when Orange County was facing bankruptcy. Today, the issue was California’s record deficit.

“We really wanted to bring everyone together to make sure they got all their questions answered,” said Assembly Budget Chair Phil Ting, D-San Francisco.