NextGen California Executive Director Arnold Sowell, Jr. released the following statement regarding Governor Newsom’s 2020-2021 budget proposal:
“Governor Newsom’s 2020-2021 state budget proposal strikes a balance of fiscal responsibility and prudent new investments. This proposal showcases California’s positive values, is a clear expression of the Governor’s progressive leadership, and poses a striking contrast to the scapegoating and dysfunction coming out of Washington D.C.”
Although it is very early in the budget process, NextGen sees much to like in this proposal. Many of its key provisions align very closely with our core mission and policy priorities — expanding access to healthcare and lowering prescription drug costs; protecting immigrant Californians; addressing climate change; mitigating homelessness; improving consumer protection; reducing student loan debt; reforming our criminal justice system; increasing the number of affordable housing units; and providing additional assistance to working families and low-income communities.
The January budget includes several proposals that NextGen supports:
- Investing substantially more funding in California’s education system to address the state’s teacher shortage, assist our lowest-performing schools, and bolster the state’s higher education institutions;
- Reducing homelessness and increasing the stock of affordable housing by providing over a billion dollars in new funding;
- Continuing programmatic assistance for California’s immigrant community (e.g. legal defense support and educational services for Dreamers);
- Creating a student loan debt working group administered by the California Student Aid Commission to make recommendations on ways to provide greater assistance and increased outreach to student loan borrowers;
- Expanding MediCal optional benefits to seniors, increasing MediCal provider rates, and addressing the high costs of prescription drugs;
- Establishing a new Department of Financial Protection and Innovation to strengthen the regulatory oversight surrounding financial institutions;
- Providing additional funding to address food insecurity on college campuses, stabilize the CalFresh program, and develop a Farm to School healthy school meals program;
- Increasing funding and creating new initiatives to fight climate change such as: a climate resiliency bond and a revolving loan fund within the state’s infrastructure bank;
- Building on existing efforts to institute comprehensive reforms to California’s criminal justice and mental health systems; and
- Cutting taxes on small businesses to foster economic growth.
NextGen looks forward to working with the Governor, the State Legislature, and stakeholders across California to advance the above funding and program proposals as well as many others that are outlined in the budget which help to further the progressive mission of our organization.