Assembly Outlines 2021-22 Budget Priorities

On Thursday, Assembly Budget Committee Chair Phil Ting released the 2021-22 Budget Blueprint, Preserve | Respond | Protect | Recover, identifying key budgetary priorities for the upcoming fiscal year. Assembly Member Ting indicated the state is anticipated to be able to reverse some budget cuts implemented as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, largely due to a projected $26 billion budget surplus in 2021-22. Recall, however, budget deficits are projected in subsequent years.

In his report, Ting calls for the restoration of funding in key priority areas to assist Californians struggling amidst the COVID-19 pandemic while developing approaches to stimulate the economy and grow budgetary reserves for future downturns. Highlights of the report include:

  • Preserve – Restore state services, prepare for future downturns
    • Repay school and community college deferrals
    • Restore one-time funding cuts to UC, CSU, Courts, Housing, Child Support
    • Undo program suspension cuts to critical health and human services programs
    • Retain reserve funding for future shortfalls
  • Respond – Provide essential state response to COVID-19
    • Reinvest in public health infrastructure to respond to COVID-19
    • Safely reopen K-12 schools and target funding to prevent learning loss
    • Protect vulnerable seniors in SNFs from COVID-19 outbreaks
    • Ensure greater transparency and oversight of federal and state disaster-related funding
    • Mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in state prisons and commit to a long-term infrastructure investment and closure plan
    • Increase workplace safety enforcement
  • Protect – Help Californians most impacted by the crisis
    • Help Californians most impacted by the pandemic and use an equity lens to evaluate solutions
    • Implement TK-for-all four-year-old children beginning in 2021 and increase rates for all early childhood education providers
    • Appropriate funding for wildfire prevention and mitigation activities
    • Streamline program rules to reduce barriers to entry and retain current families in Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh, IHSS, and other major programs
    • Provide ongoing homeless prevention state funding
    • Expand current housing support and assistance programs
  • Recover – Targeted stimulus to help Californians rebuild the economy
    • Provide coordinated and streamlined assistance to small businesses and nonprofits
    • Create a state program to prevent evictions and support mom-and-pop landlords
    • Modernize the Employment Development Department and eliminate the unemployment insurance backlog
    • Create a climate crisis investment plan to guide the expenditure of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund revenue
    • Develop an infrastructure strategy to stimulate the economy

The full Assembly Budget Blueprint is available here. A press release from the office of Assembly Member Phil Ting is available here.