CFPA Statement: Governor's May Revision

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5.13.2014 This morning, Governor Brown released his 2014-15 budget revision. The revision affirms the Governor's commitment to continued austerity and a reduction of state debt. While State revenues have been forecasted to increase by an additional $2.4 billion, the Governor cites a simultaneous increase in costs, due to the drought, increased Medi-Cal enrollment, the Prop 98 education guarantee, court operations, and pay down of the State's pension obligations.

The Governor's recent negotiations with the Legislature resulted in an agreement to build the rainy day fund. If approved by voters, the State will make ongoing contributions from the General Fund and capital gains revenue.

Like his January proposal, the Governor's budget revision presents few new investments or restorations of safety-net benefits. More than 8 million Californians live in poverty and at least 4 million struggle with food insecurity. As State revenues increase, the budget should focus not just on shrewd savings and debt repayment, but also on investments in vital public programs that help struggling Californians get back on their feet.

CFPA urges the Legislature to pursue budget revisions that will do more to reduce the number of Californians living in poverty and experiencing food insecurity. To help fulfill the Governor's vision of long-term fiscal stability, the 2014-15 state budget should address the growing inequities faced by California's low-income families.

Read the Governor's May Revise Summary. link

The Revised Budget & Nutrition for Low-Income Californians

Early Childhood Education
The Governor's January proposal did not include any major restorations for early childhood education (ECE). The May revision includes very few adjustments to that proposal.

While CFPA has seen broad community support for a reinvestment in ECE nutrition, the Governor's May budget does not include a state reimbursement for meals served by ECE programs. However, at a press conference this morning, Governor Brown did express some willingness to continue conversations with the Legislature about reinvestments in ECE.

CFPA is calling on Governor Brown and the Legislature to reinvestment in ECE nutrition programs. Please join us! ECE nutrition is a critical investment that can benefit young children, families, early childhood educators, and the State's bottom line.

Learn more about ECE Nutrition Investments. link

Questions? Contact Elyse Homel-Vitale at 510.433.1122 ext. 206 or elyse@cfpa.net

CalFresh
The Governor's May revise includes an increase of $10.5 million from the General Fund to provide a state-funded energy assistance subsidy to CalFresh recipients. The investment will allow California to comply with recent federal changes necessary to maintain Heat and Eat. If enacted, the proposal would positively impact over 300,000 households per year with an average increase of $62 per month in CalFresh benefits.

The revised budget also includes changes to the State's categorical eligibility program. The proposed changes would raise the gross income limit to 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) for all households. While households would still need to meet the net income test of 100% FPL, this change would remove a significant barrier for low-income households applying for CalFresh and simplify implementation of AB 191 (Bocanegra).

CFPA has long supported Heat and Eat and the full use of categorical eligibility as means of strengthening the safety net for struggling Californians. We applaud the Governor for including these important proposals in the May revision.

Questions? Contact Alexis Fernández at 510.433.1122 ext. 111 or alexis@cfpa.net

School Meal Enrollment: Direct Certification
The Governor's May revision authorizes the California Department of Education (CDE) to create three positions (one ongoing, two limited) to implement a direct certification demonstration project that will test the use of Medi-Cal data. CDE has submitted a proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to participate in the demonstration. The positions will be made available pending USDA's approval of that proposal.

Direct certification is an efficient, paperless method of determining students'eligibility for free and reduced-price school meals. With direct certification, low-income students are more likely to be enrolled to receive free school meals and more likely to participate in the school meal programs. We appreciate CDE's efforts to bring Medi-Cal Direct Certification to California – and we value the Governor's support of those efforts.

Questions? Contact Elyse Homel Vitale at 510.433.1122 ext. 206 or elyse@cfpa.net

School Meals and LCFF
We are glad to see Governor Brown working to address the impact of the Local Control Funding Formula on access to much-needed, free school meals.

Provision 2 (P2) and the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) are federally authorized options that increase access to free school meals for students attending high-poverty schools. Making LCFF compatible with P2 and CEP will help direct state and federal resources where they are needed most.

Included in the summary of the Governor's revised budget is a proposal that would better align LCFF and P2 by allowing P2 schools to establish a four-year baseline of low-income students for the purposes of LCFF (with annual adjustments for incoming and outgoing students).

While the Governor's proposal is a step in the right direction, it does not address the complications that LCFF creates for the new Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). We will continue our efforts to optimize P2 and CEP -- and ensure that California's 3 million low-income students receive the health and academic benefits of school meals.

Learn more about the connections between LCFF and school meals. link

Questions? Contact Tia Shimada at 510.433.1122 ext. 109 or tia@cfpa.net

Enacting the 2014-15 Budget

The Legislature will begin discussing the May Revise and other state budget items this week with the aim of finalizing their budget proposals shortly. All proposed budget items will be discussed during Conference Committee hearings. By midnight on June 15, the budget must be approved by the Legislature. After the Legislature approves the budget, the Governor can sign the budget for immediate enactment or veto individual items. By law, the new budget must be enacted on July 1.