Assembly Adopts 2018-19 Budget Package

On Tuesday evening, the full Assembly Budget Committee convened a hearing to discuss and adopt their 2018-19 Budget. In his opening statements Assembly Member Philip Ting, chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, noted their inclusion of $144 billion in revenues and $140 billion in expenditures. He further highlighted major investments by the Assembly, which include:

  • $17.1 billion to total reserves;
  • $1 billion for health care expansion and reducing health care costs for middle income families;
  • Fully funding the Local Control Funding Formula for education;
  • Providing $117 million to UCs and $226 million to CSUs above the Governor’s May Revise proposal;
  • $1.6 billion to address homelessness in California
  • $920 million, including federal funding, to support early childhood education programs;
  • $153 million to support the census count; and
  • Expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit to younger adults.

Assembly Member Jay Obernolte, vice chair of the Committee, commended the work of the subcommittees; however, he expressed fundamental concerns with some of the investments included in the budget, arguing that a dollar spent today should equal lower spending in future years. He expressed concern that the investments included in the Assembly’s budget would create additional spending pressures in future years. Lastly, he questioned the intent and expressed concern with the creation of a new reserve in addition to the existing reserve accounts – the Budget Deficit Savings Account (Rainy Day Fund) and Special Fund for Economic Uncertainties.

Assembly Member Joaquin Arambula, chair of Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 1 on Health and Human Services provided a report on the work of the subcommittee, which convened 18 public hearings. He remarked that this was a precedent setting year for health with a $1 billion investment to expand coverage to all low-income young adults and increase the eligibility for the aged and disabled. He noted this investment moves the state toward universal coverage and making health care accessible for all Californians. He went on to note the following additional investments:

  • Investing $65 million into public health prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, opioids, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hepatitis C, and Valley Fever;
  • Providing premium assistance for middle income families;
  • Creating an all-payer database to collect cost data and increase transparency;
  • Investing in the health care workforce for medically underserved and shortage areas;
  • Investing in provider rate increases using $50 million from Proposition 56; and
  • Expanding eligibility and making the CalWORKs home visiting program permanent;

The Department of Finance cautioned against the architecture of the Assembly’s budget given the revenues used in the Assembly’s proposal are $2.8 billion over the Administration’s revenue estimates. The Assembly Budget Committee moved forward with the adoption of the 2018-19 Assembly Budget; however, Assembly Member Ting noted their interest in continued discussions with the Administration during the conference process.

An overview of the Assembly Budget and subcommittee reports can be found here.