(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, released his blueprint for the state budget, focusing first on protecting California’s finances from new threats coming from Washington and ensuring all parts of the state share in the California Dream.
“We have a lot to be proud of in California. We have one of the world’s largest economies, we invest in the success and security of our people, and we have a level of financial stability envied by other states. Yet, some of our people still suffer and we must invest in them,” said Ting. “We need a plan to move this state forward. We can’t govern by asking a Magic 8 Ball whether Washington will hit us this way or that way.”
Ting’s Assembly Blueprint for Responsible Budget Priorities balances uncertainty of the future with aspirations for a more prosperous and inclusive state. It focuses on strengthening California’s fiscal health, protecting the state from harm inflicted by the federal government, and making responsible investments in Californians.
First and foremost, the blueprint focuses on building California’s reserves so the state may cushion the next shock to the state budget. Last month, the Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) projected California will continue to have a budget surplus if our economy continues to grow. Aided by $11.5 billion in reserves projected for the next fiscal year, the largest amount in three decades, LAO forecast the state budget can withstand a modest recession.
However, priorities of the incoming administration pose significant threats. Repeal of the Affordable Care Act will rip health care from millions and cost the state over $20 billion in federal funds. A trade war with China could undermine our economy and jobs contributing our state’s tax base. The Peterson Institute found the state could lose 730,000 jobs.
While the state’s fiscal forecast does not provide for large spending increases, Ting’s blueprint phases in investments in working families still waiting for the economic recovery, including:
- smart incentives and investments to create jobs, affordable housing, and homelessness prevention programs,
- expanding the state’s Earned Income Tax Credit to serve families making less than $15 per hour,
- implementing all-day kindergarten across California,
- phasing in a program for debt free college education,
- providing funds for legal aid services to help immigrants - especially youth benefitting from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program - remain in California, and
- assisting communities most harmed by the negative environmental impacts of climate change.
“Voters sent a clear message that they approve of the direction of the state,” added Ting. “Our budget reflects their values and a plan for long term investment in education, health care, and infrastructure.”