Sunday, January 10, 2021

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

California legislators who return to work Monday will quickly be asked to vote on a flurry of high-profile spending measures to confront the worsening toll of the coronavirus pandemic.

At the top of their agenda: find a way to reopen schools for millions of students who have been out of the classroom since March, provide cash payments to low-income families, distribute COVID-19 vaccines more quickly, and extend an eviction moratorium.

Ostensibly, legislators and Gov. Gavin Newsom agree on the broad strokes of the budget proposal he released Friday, which includes a $5 billion “immediate action” plan he wants approved within weeks.


Cash payments: Newsom is pushing lawmakers to swiftly approve one-time $600 direct payments to low-income people, an effort designed in part to help keep families housed. The payments would cost $2.4 billion.

Checks would be sent to taxpayers who received the state’s earned income tax credit for the working poor, typically those who earn $30,000 or less. Newsom said payments could go out within weeks.

Assembly member Phil Ting, the San Francisco Democrat who chairs the budget committee, said there’s broad support for such payments.

“If we don’t do it now, we run the risk of having a greater catastrophe down the road,” Ting said. “A little bit of money today will help significantly tomorrow.”


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

When sanity returns to Washington and Donald Trump’s insurrectionists are defeated, Democrats will control the Senate along with the House and White House — which could lead to new financial help for California governments and Californians.

Although it’s unclear how the riots that temporarily prevented Congress from confirming Joe Biden’s victory as president Wednesday will play out in the long run, it’s clear that Democrats will have more ability to pass legislation than at any time since Barack Obama’s first term.


“It means everything for California,” said Assembly Member Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, chair of the Assembly budget committee. “Instead of an administration that we’re fighting every day, we have one that we can work with.”


Monday, January 4, 2021

Publication: KTVU/Fox 2 Bay Area

UCSF and the city of San Francisco have reached an agreement on a project to improve housing, transit and jobs programs as part of its plan to expand and update its Parnassus Heights campus. 

The proposed package includes 1,263 new houses for the UCSF workforce, with 40 percent of all new and existing homes designated as affordable units. The boost also includes $20 million in transportation improvements and a 30 percent target for local hires in construction and permanent entry-level jobs.  


"From the 1906 earthquake to the HIV epidemic to COVID-19, UCSF has been a crucial player in providing healthcare, training programs and research that are recognized around the world," Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) said in a release.  "The Parnassus Heights project makes certain this important work and legacy will continue. The new agreement is a shining example of how community investment can be more inclusive." 


Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Publication: Spectrum Television News / Los Angeles

California teachers unions and state legislators are at odds over when students should return to the classroom after a Democratic bill was introduced that would force schools to reopen in the spring.

Toby Boyd, the President of the California Teachers Association, said he responds to hundreds of emails every week from concerned parents ever since the pandemic hit.

“We understand the importance of getting our students back into the classroom and having them there, but we have to do it safe and that’s our number one concern,” Boyd said.


This December, California legislators proposed Assembly Bill 10, a bill to reopen schools as early as March. However, Boyd believes this date is too soon to be letting children and staff back into the classroom.

“Look at the numbers that we have of infections, the ICU rates, the beds that are not available, the hospitalization, the deaths,” Boyd explained.

Assemblymember Phil Ting is one of the main authors of the bill and is also a parent himself. He says he understands the stress of distance learning that millions of families are facing across the state.

“I just got finished with my parent teacher conferences. The teachers are working extremely hard, but they definitely let us know as parents that they are not going to be able to get through all the material that they normally would in a year,” Ting said.


Monday, December 21, 2020

Publication: San Francisco Chronicle

A $900 billion coronavirus aid package that Congress passed Monday includes no dedicated money for state or local governments, undercutting hopes that California and many of its cities would be able to close growing budget gaps without major cuts.


Assembly member Phil Ting, the San Francisco Democrat who chairs the Assembly budget committee, said it was unbelievable that the federal government was not doing everything possible to prevent states and cities from sinking deeper into economic crises.

“State and local governments are the ones primarily providing services to people. During a pandemic, people are relying on their government more than ever before,” Ting said. “The federal government’s responsibility is to be a social safety net during a crisis. That’s why they can borrow money.”


Yet without new federal aid, California has fewer options for using its $26 billion windfall, much of which must be socked away to replenish state reserve accounts, Ting said.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Publication: CalMatters

In the five years before the pandemic, low-income Californians had begun to see substantial wage gains, chipping away at the income inequality gap between California’s haves and have-nots that has widened over the past 40 years. But the coronavirus pandemic is “likely stripping away many of these gains,” researchers at the Public Policy Institute of California found in a new report.

The current coronavirus-induced recession has hit low-income workers the hardest, while higher income workers, largely able to work from home, have escaped relatively unscathed. And those acute job losses among low-wage workers — particularly African Americans, Latinos, workers without college degrees and women — have stayed worryingly high through the fall, the researchers found. 


Last week, Assemblymember Phil Ting, a San Francisco Democrat who chairs the budget committee, announced his priorities for the session. They included transitional kindergarten for all 4-year-olds, more financial aid for college students, more money for low-income families through the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, and making parents who don’t work eligible for the state’s Young Child Tax Credit of up to $1,000.

“Our major priority is making sure we do everything to get money into the pockets of the most vulnerable Californians,” Ting said. “So many Californians are struggling. They’re on the brink of homelessness.”

Friday, December 11, 2020

Publication: KSRO/Sonoma County NewsTalk Radio

A new state budget blueprint has been released for the 2021-22 fiscal year centered around restoring previous cuts while also providing a lifeline for Californians impacted by the pandemic. Assemblyman Phil Ting, Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, says many cuts were the result of the federal government not providing additional funding.He says other priorities include preparing for future economic downturns and providing targeted stimulus to help rebuild the economy. Listen here