2023-2024 California Budget Proposal Includes Hard Cuts to Protect Basic Needs Ahead of Economic Uncertainty
[ Article originally appeared in https://greenlining.org ]
The Greenlining Institute urges legislators to secure long-term funding for scaled back equity programs to protect them from future economic volatility
(Oakland, CA)–Governor Newsom’s 2023-24 California Budget proposal previews a rocky road ahead due to lower-than-anticipated state revenues and ongoing economic uncertainty as the threat of a recession grows. California currently faces a $22.5 billion deficit, in stark contrast to the state’s historic $100 billion surplus last year.
Economic downturns have the harshest impacts on low-income communities that are already struggling to make ends meet, which is why we’re encouraged to see continued investments in areas like healthcare, education, and housing. However, proposed Budget cuts and funding delays in areas like infrastructure, clean transportation, affordable housing programs, and climate resilience will undoubtedly slow the state’s progress toward making equity a reality for all Californians, and not just the wealthy few.
“Already underfunded equity programs that support communities of color and low-income communities should be protected all the time, but particularly during Budget deficit years. Economic cycles are unpredictable, which is why it is so essential to prioritize communities that face the most severe consequences of economic downturns. We urge legislators to start work immediately on progressive revenue proposals that create a consistent source of funding to advance climate equity, affordable housing development, and broadband deployment–programs that can help close the racial wealth gap,” said Alvaro Sanchez, Vice President of Policy at The Greenlining Institute.
“As leaders of the fourth largest economy in the world, California lawmakers have a responsibility to invest in statewide resilience so our communities don’t fall further behind,” Sanchez continued. “We appreciate the Governor’s commitment to protect the state’s most vulnerable by maintaining key investments in healthcare, homelessness, and education. This Budget proposal reflects our flawed economic system, in which the wealthiest few are able to accumulate immense amounts of wealth while millions slip into poverty and rely on a sparse government safety net to make ends meet.”
Key investments outlined in the proposed Budget include:
While the Budget sustains a multi-year commitment of $44 billion in state funds for infrastructure investments, it also proposes a reduction of $3.9 billion in critical spending that includes climate and transportation investments for the 2020-21 and 2023-24 fiscal years. Such funds are said to be restored if costs are deemed sufficient to cover previous commitments.
Potential cuts and delays outlined in the proposed Budget include:
In an effort to offset trigger reductions, the state will lean on potential incoming federal commitments through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to secure up to $15 billion to aid statewide transportation infrastructure, including existing and new programs for transit, and highway safety. It is critical to our work at The Greenlining Institute to advance these federal funding efforts, and what remains of statewide allocations, to deliver concrete benefits to our communities.
“As we have for the past three decades, The Greenlining Institute will continue to fight for initiatives that build resilience through economic shortfalls and instability,” said Melanie Morelos, California Strategy Senior Program Manager. “We look forward to working alongside the State Legislature, Administration, and our partners as we advocate to strengthen our social safety nets in times of economic distress, and build an economy where communities of color can thrive.”
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