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Western Center Applauds Gov. Newsom’s Push to End Deep Poverty with Budget Proposal



Increased CalWORKs grants will make California the 2nd state to provide grants that bring families to 50 percent of the federal poverty line

Sacramento, Calif. (January 10, 2019) – Western Center on Law & Poverty commends Governor Newsom’s proposed 2019-2020 budget as a solid first step toward the stronger California the Governor has said he will prioritize in his tenure. Western Center is particularly pleased to see an increase in CalWORKs grants beginning this October, which will bring families receiving CalWORKs to 50% of FPL, making California only the second state to do so after New Hampshire.

California has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, and the highest rate of child poverty, with 450,000 children living in deep poverty (below 50% of FPL). Increasing CalWORKs grants is a necessary step outlined in the Lifting Children and Families Out of Poverty Task Force Report, and a continuation of increased allocations by Jerry Brown.

We are glad to see the Governor prioritize the state’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis through significant new investments and policy changes. The Governor has correctly recognized the importance of housing access for Californians struggling with poverty. We look forward to working to refine the proposals to ensure that they provide relief to those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of the housing crisis, including individuals and families who are currently unhoused, and those facing displacement and housing instability due to rising rents and gentrification.

Western Center is also pleased with the budget’s appropriations for health care. In addition to fully implementing the ACA, the proposed budget expands comprehensive Medi-Cal to all income-eligible young adults up to age 26, improves affordability assistance in Covered California for those with incomes between 250-600% of FPL, and funds supportive services for individuals with chronic conditions and mental illness. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to expand comprehensive health coverage to all low income adults below the 138% FPL via Medi-Cal expansion, regardless of immigration status or age. We will also work to improve premium assistance for lower income families on Covered California.

Western Center’s full analysis of the Governor’s proposed budget, broken down by issue, is available here. For questions, contact Courtney McKinney at [email protected].

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