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    Investing in California’s Future and Equality for All

    By Assemblymember Phil Ting–

    Headlines from Washington are daily reminders that we live in uncertain and unpredictable times, especially when it comes to protecting civil rights for all. It is more important than ever that our state budget reflects clear progressive values and fiscal stability to protect us from future unknowns.

    As Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, I am pleased to announce that we worked with our new Governor, Gavin Newsom, to pass an on-time and balanced budget that addresses key needs facing our state’s 40 million residents. It makes investments in long-standing priorities such as education, reaching a record level of funding at $81 billion in Prop 98 funds and over $12,000 per student, while paying off the “wall of debt” incurred during the Great Recession and making $4 billion in additional payments on our state’s pension liabilities.

    This budget brings us closer to universal, affordable health coverage for all. Low- and middle-income Californians will get more Covered California subsidies, and Medi-Cal will cover more seniors as well as young adults aged 19–25 regardless of immigration status, saving money on emergency room visits. Additionally, we finally restore “optional” Medi-Cal benefits, like optical care and podiatry, slashed during the recession; and allocate $15 million ongoing funding to implement innovative STD, HIV and Hepatitis C prevention strategies.

    Our state’s linked crises of housing affordability and homelessness remain priorities, with $650 million going to localities to combat homelessness and an additional $500 million going directly to build more housing. Based off initial estimates, the City and County of San Francisco will receive nearly $40 million for emergency homeless shelters and services, with a new 8% set aside flowing directly to homeless youth services. Between 20–40% of all homeless youth identify as LGBTQ.

    Other critical investments in social infrastructure, to ensure equality and justice for all, include continuation of our state’s progress toward lifting families out of “deep poverty” by increasing CalWORKs grants and streamlining program requirements to make it easier to sign up for and retain benefits. And with the Trump Administration dropping its effort to add a citizen question to the 2020 Census, California can focus its efforts on ensuring every person in the state gets counted, so we get our fair share of funding and effective representation in Washington, D.C. This budget includes $85.8 million for additional community engagement and outreach.

    We also make meaningful investments to honor the contributions of LGBTQ heroes and inspire the next generation of leaders. This budget includes $1.1 million to support renovation of two LGBTQ public spaces in San Francisco, Harvey Milk Plaza and Eagle Plaza; $500,000 for the National LGBTQ Center for the Arts; $500,000 for preservation of other historical LGBTQ sites and $2 million to support the International AIDS Conference. The Conference provides a forum for the intersection of science and advocacy, including representation from individuals personally affected by AIDS, with the common goal to end the epidemic.

    Our state budget takes steps to improve the lives of many Californians who are struggling and makes investments to ensure a strong future for our state. We can all be proud of this work.

    Phil Ting represents the 19th Assembly District, which includes the Westside of San Francisco along with the communities of Broadmoor, Colma and Daly City.