We are a statewide policy and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the health and well being of low income Californians by increasing their access to nutritious, affordable food.

Governor Brown Signs 2017-18 State Budget


6.29.2017 This week Governor Brown signed the 2017-18 State Budget. This budget includes some new, exciting initiatives that CFPA advocated- including $5 million for Safe Water through CalFresh, and $1.5 million for California-grown, fresh school meals! We were also thrilled to see the expansion of California’s EITC for working poor families. link

However, there is still much more that was left unaddressed when it comes to the root causes of food insecurity, including a failure to act on affordable housing and alleviation of deep poverty through SSI and CalWORKS.

Learn more about CFPA’s 2017-18 budget wins:

  • Safe Water for CalFresh Households link
  • California-Grown Fresh School Meal Fund link

The 2017-18 State Budget was enacted without any vetoes, or “blue pencils”, from Governor Brown. This demonstrates the Legislature’s ability to work with the Governor on progressive investments, even with the Governor’s legacy of fiscal restraint. CFPA applauds the strong stand that Governor Brown and our Legislature have taken in asserting California’s intention to strengthen the state with investments in public services and systems. CFPA looks to the Legislature to take action on unresolved issues impacting low-income Californians in the coming year.

With respect to nutrition and income support for low-income Californians, the 2017-18 State Budget includes:

CalFresh and Food Assistance: CFPA, along with partners form the Drinking Water Coalition and various anti-hunger groups, celebrates the Budget’s inclusion of a $5 million pilot initiative to provide temporary, supplemental CalFresh benefits for households in communities without safe drinking water, who shouldn’t have to decide between buying safe water or food. The trailer bill implementing this pilot also includes the creation of a flexible mechanism within the CalFresh system for delivering state-funded nutrition benefits for specific populations when federal assistance in insufficient or unavailable, which further supports the goals of CFPA’s sponsored bill, AB 164 (Arambula). link

We applaud the inclusion of $8 million for CalFood funding, which is critical for California’s food banks, including $6 million in ongoing support. Given the fear and uncertainty around public programs like CalFresh and WIC in the current political climate for California’s immigrant residents, we strongly support the state’s investment in the emergency food network. link

The budget includes statutory changes to prevent harm to Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), as the state and counties prepare to implement the CalFresh ABAWD time limit next year. These changes are intended to minimize the impending negative impact for approximately 450,000 of California’s most vulnerable residents, who will become subject to this harsh and arbitrary time limit for needed nutrition benefits. link

Finally, the budget includes $7.5 million to launch the Hunger Free Campus Initiative, which will encourage college campuses to pursue anti-hunger efforts by establishing a “Hunger Free Campus” certification for colleges that have a Swipe Out Hunger program; provide on-campus access to a food pantry; and promote CalFresh to students. Learn more about Hunger Free Campuses. link

CalWORKS & SSI/SSP: Despite strong efforts from a broad coalition of anti-poverty advocates, the budget did not increase economic support to California’s households in poverty through CalWORKs or SSI grants. The lack of investment again will leave CalWORKS and SSI recipients under the poverty level yet again.

The Legislature must consider the damaging external costs of keeping families in deep poverty, and how a CalWORKs grant increase or SSP COLA could mitigate further harmful effects upon families and communities. The lack of increased funding, paired with the unavailability of CalFresh benefits for SSI recipients, puts additional strain on the elderly or those living with disabilities who survive on very limited, fixed incomes. As such, the budget instructs the Legislative Analyst Office to research options and funding needed to allow SSI recipients to be eligible for federal SNAP benefits while holding harmless families which currently receive grant funding from SSI and other grant programs.

Child Care: CFPA applauds the 2017-18 Budget’s steps forward in child care. This Budget includes $25 million to end the decade old freeze on the state median income (SMI) used to determine income eligibility for subsidized child care and authorizes 12 months of continuous eligibility and stability for families, children, and the providers who care for them.

With the recent incremental increase to the State’s minimum wage, some families were no longer eligible for affordable child care they depend on to go to work, which added to the urgency of fixing the 10-year freeze on income eligibility. This policy change will help to avoid a severe reduction in access to child care for thousands of California families, and will help improve access to nutritious meals that young children often receive in childcare settings. link

School Nutrition: Thanks to skillful negotiations from Senator Nancy Skinner, the 2017-18 State Budget includes a $1.5 million dollar investment into a new California-Grown Fresh School Meals Fund! The goals for this fund were set in SB 782, which CFPA co-sponsored. To learn more about this effort, visit CFPA’s SB 782 page. link While the budget maintains a 1.48% COLA for categorical programs outside of the Local Control Funding Formula, including Child Nutrition, there were no further investments to support improvements in school nutrition programs that prevent child hunger and support student success.

Safe and Affordable Drinking Water: CFPA heartily celebrates the success of our initiative to provide struggling Californians living without safe drinking water some relief through supplemental CalFresh benefits! The $5 million investment in this initiative is expected to reach approximately 40,000 residents living in areas hardest hit by poor water quality and ongoing drought impacts.

Including the CalFresh-Safe Water Initiative, CFPA and our Drinking Water Coalition partners successfully advocated for more than $22 million in new investments to provide low-income Californians with safe water. Learn more about the Drinking Water Coalition efforts. link

Read the 2017-18 State Budget link

Learn more from the California Budget & Policy Center link

Questions? Contact Tracey Patterson at tracey@cfpa.net or 510.433.1122 ext. 101