Governor Newsom’s first budget adopts many Western Center proposals, and moves the needle on poverty, inequality, and addressing homelessness
The budget signed by Governor Newsom today for FY 2019-20 includes important anti-poverty measures that Western Center has pushed for years. Most notably, the budget more than doubles the California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC), ends the “senior penalty” for accessing Medi-Cal, and expands Medi-Cal to undocumented young adults. It also provides a major boost to CalWORKs grants, and includes a significant investment in affordable housing and homelessness programs.
Unfortunately, the budget does not include funding to restore massive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) grant cuts from a decade ago, or to expand Medi-Cal to undocumented seniors. Additionally, CalWORKs grants still keep most CalWORKs families in deep poverty, and while the governor’s closing of tax loopholes to boost low wage workers’ income through the EITC was creative and bold, it continues to exclude ITIN tax filers.
There is much more work to do, but the Governor’s first budget demonstrates both empathy for those with the least, and imagination in finding ways to address their needs.