Backed by soaring revenues amid the pandemic, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday proposed a budget that would pay for the health care of all the state’s low-income residents living in the country illegally, while cutting taxes for businesses and halting a scheduled increase in the gas tax later this summer.
California taxpayers already pay for the health care of young adults and people 50 and over living in the country illegally, provided they meet certain income requirements. Now, Newsom wants California to become the first state to cover all adults who are living in the country illegally, a move that would eventually cost $2.2 billion per year.
“We’re doing something that no other state has done,” Newsom said.
Newsom said his $286.4 billion budget proposal tackles five of the state’s biggest problems — what his administration called “existential threats” — including the surging coronavirus pandemic; wildfires and drought worsened by global warming; homelessness; income inequality including the lack of health insurance for some immigrants; and public safety, including combatting a recent flurry of coordinated smash-and-grab robberies.
The “existential” label is usually applied to climate change and the pandemic, Newsom acknowledged, but he said homelessness, the rising cost of living and public safety are “understandably top of mind in terms of people’s concerns.”
The governor said his budget includes a $45.7 billion surplus, which is larger than previous estimates because his administration uses a different definition of what counts as surplus.
The proposed $2.2 billion program to aid immigrants in the country illegally would not take effect until January 2024 to include “all low-income Californians, regardless of immigration status,” Newsom said.
The state has made great strides in reducing its uninsured population in recent years, but the largest single group left behind under the state’s Medicaid program are low-income residents in the country illegally.
The state began covering immigrants 26 and under in 2019, and those 50 and older last year.
Gov. Andy Beshear on Monday unveiled “record funding” of an additional $2 billion in pre-K to 12th grade education as part of his upcoming budget proposal.
Beshear’s proposed budget would fully fund universal pre-K for all 4-year-olds with $172 million in each year of the biennium and fund full day kindergarten.
“It is more than affordable... a something we must do,” Beshear said of the pre-school proposal.
Republican lawmakers did not immediately comment Monday afternoon.
Beshear is also proposing a 16.9 percent increase in SEEK funding, the dollars provided to K-12 schools for everything from transportation to support for special needs students.
There is a 12. 5 percent increase in the SEEK based per pupil funding formula for elementary and secondary schools.
The budget proposal fully funds school district costs for student transportation. That is $175 million annually, an 81 percent increase over the last budget.
“We are not burdening our schools with an unfunded mandate,” Beshear said.
Kentucky needs to make sure it is paying the people educating children what they are worth, Beshear said.
The proposal includes a minimum 5 percent salary increase for all school personnel, in additional to salary schedule increases for certified educators. He said its the first identified pay increase in a budget since 2006 to 2008 and there will be no health insurance premium increases for school employees, Beshear said. He said Kentucky ranks 42nd nationally in starting salaries for teachers.
He is providing $26. 3 million each year for a student loan forgiveness program that provides a maximum of $3,000 a year annually to help a teacher pay off student loans. Educators can stay in the program for five years if they are teaching in Kentucky. His proposal fully funds teacher’s pensions and medical benefits, all measures to keep them in the classrooms.
Beshear’s proposal provides $22.9 million each year to restore professional development as well as provide funding for textbooks and instructional resources.
With the proposed funding, Kentucky teachers would not have to dip into their own pocket to provide resources for their classrooms, he said.
Beshear provided an additional $6 million each year in funding for the state’s 874 family resource and youth service centers for 1,200 schools, which Beshear said provides items such as coats for students. He said their funding has not been increased for years.
Kentucky House Republicans filed their first draft of the state's two-year budget plan Friday, ahead of Gov. Andy Beshear's budget address next week.
It's been a common practice in Kentucky: the governor unveils his budget plan and the legislature then follows. But on Friday, the Republican majority unveiled theirs early, with no warning.
"I don't know if it's petty or excitement or what, but I'll leave that up to Kentuckians to decide," said House Floor Minority Leader Joni Jenkins.
She says just like her Democratic colleagues, she was taken aback.
"I've been in Frankfort, this is the beginning of my 28th year of service and throughout Democratic and Republican governors, I have never seen the legislature put forth their budget before the governor gave their budget address," Jenkins said.