Dear Governor Newsom, Senate President pro Tempore Atkins, and Speaker Rendon,
Californians are facing precarious times – the ongoing pandemic has deepened already-widening inequities, climate change has accelerated at a shocking rate, and our rights and protections are under attack from right-wing extremists who are making gains. Each year we hear from leaders that this is the year for action, but each year Californians get more disenchanted with failures and compromises. We are tired of broken promises and broken hearts from inaction. With the surge of white supremacy and disinformation and the recent collapse of voter and constituent engagement, Courage California is raising the alarm for you to take action now to invest in the wellbeing and future of all Californians.
Many groups and special interests have made budget requests of you to fortify diverse economic interests while we have a surplus. Courage California writes to stand in support of shared progressive budget priorities put forward by our partners. We urge California’s executive and legislative leadership to incorporate the following items into the 2022 – 2023 State Budget so that we invest in the long-term climate and economic resilience of our communities. We applaud you for your leadership in making California a sanctuary state, and we implore you to go further to ensure that everyone can afford to live, move to, and stay in our state.
Together with our partners, we represent millions of Californians. We urge the state’s estimated $97.5 billion surplus be invested directly back to the people to increase healthcare and abortion access and address climate justice, the high cost of childcare, economic security, racial equity, voter education, and public saftey. The requests below total $28.7 billion for this next fiscal year, and they will translate directly into saved lives, saved livelihoods, and saved future costs.
- $2 billion to expand addiction and mental health treatment programs. Supported by Californians for Safety and Justice.
- $400 million investment in the Federally Qualified Health Centers workforce through SB 1014, which creates the Enhanced Clinically Integrated Program as an optional new payment program authorized by Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) for FQHCs to improve patient care through expanding access to specialists, improving access through workforce training and support, and improving capital funding to help clinics grow. Supported by SEIU California State Council.
- $1.3 billion to provide comprehensive health care access to all income-eligible Californians through full-scope Medi-Cal (AB 4 – Arambula/SB 56 – Durazo). Supported by California Immigrant Policy Center.
- $20 million one-time over six years to create the California Reproductive Health Equity Program to ensure cost is not a barrier to care by reimbursing CA providers for uncompensated repro healthcare services. Supported by California YIMBY.
- $15 million per year to fully fund cost of abortion care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries. Supported by NARAL Pro-Choice CA (Future of Abortion Council).
- $20 million one-time to fund a reproductive health pilot in LA. Supported by NARAL Pro-Choice CA (Future of Abortion Council).
- $40 million to establish the Reproductive Health Scholars Corps for diverse, aspiring and existing professionals in underserved areas who recive abortion training. Supported by NARAL Pro-Choice CA (Future of Abortion Council).
- $15 million to create a California Reproductive Justice and Freedom Fund to support community-based repro health, rights, and justice orgs that conduct outreach and education. Supported by NARAL Pro-Choice CA (Future of Abortion Council).
Climate Justice and Infrastructure Investments
- $75 billion on climate — just 5% of the budget — over the next five years to give us the tools we need to solve the climate crisis. Supported by CA Enviro Voters.
- $750,000 to implement training provisions expanded from the Environmental Enforcement and Training Act. Supported by Next Gen.
- $2 million for enforcement to address environmental regulation violations in disadvantaged communities. Supported by Leadership Counsel and NexGen.
- $105 million Displaced Oil and Gas Worker Fund. Supported by the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment.
- $450 million allocated to the Local Government Budget Stability (LGBS) fund. Supported by the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment.
- $200 million in one-time funds to plug orphan or idle wells, decommission attendant facilities, and complete associated environmental remediation, and the associated $15M in workforce training for displaced oil and gas workers. Supported by the Center on Race, Poverty & the Environment.
- $1 billion for equitable access to community solar and storage, complementing advocacy for the creation of a new community renewable energy program via AB 2316 (Ward). Supported by CEJA and APEN.
- $1 billion in community resilience centers. Supported by CA GND Coalition.
- $1 billion in upgrades for healthy homes & heat pumps. Supported by CA GND Coalition.
- $2 billion in utility debt relief funds. Supported by CA GND Coalition.
- $5 billion over 3-5 years for Infill Infrastructure Grant program (primary source of funds for infill-orientred infrastructure like utility improvements, public transit, safe streets). Supported by California YIMBY.
- $20 million one-time allocation for direct practical support and infrastructure for patients seeking abortion care. Supported by California YIMBY.
- $357 million to establish trust funds for HOPE Accounts, consistent with SB 864. SB 864 will create California’s first “baby bond program,” or trust fund accounts for foster youth in long term care and children orphaned by COVID-19. Supported by End Child Poverty in CA.
- $187 million to continue waiving family fees for parents who need help paying for child care. Supported by the Child Care Law Center.
Racial Equity Investments
- $40 million to fund the establishment of a statewide Office of Racial Equity (ORE), consistent with SB 17 (Pan). Supported by Next Gen.
- At least $100 million to the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund to support community-based organizations (CBOs) to identify and develop effective strategies to address the most urgent inequities and injustices in their neighborhoods. Supported by California Pan-Ethnic Health Network.
- $300 million to expand critical recovery services for victims of crime, including flexible cash assistance funds and victim compensation programs. Supported by Californians for Safety and Justice.
- $460 million to expand California’s infrastructure of community-based reentry services. Supported by Californians for Safety and Justice.
- $100 million in flexible block grants to cities/counties to scale public health and community-based crime prevention. Supported byCalifornians for Safety and Justice.
- $80 million to fund California Violence Intervention and Prevention Grant Program. Supported byCalifornians for Safety and Justice.
Economic Security and Housing Investments
- $548 million Ensuring that every household can put food on the table by making CalFresh available to all income-eligible Californians (SB 464 – Hurtado). Supported by California Immigrant Policy Center.
- $690 million to invest in immigrant workers who have been historically excluded from unemployment benefits (AB 2847 – E. Garcia). Supported by California Immigrant Policy Center.
- $200 million to fund the Reentry Housing & Workforce Development Program detailed in AB 1816 (Bryan). Supported by Housing NOW! and Californians for Safety and Justice.
Voter Education and Outreach Investments
- $35 million per election (the November 2022 General, the March 2024 Primary and the November 2024 General) for a statewide voter outreach campaign via CA SoS. Supported by CA Enviro Voters.
- $44 million ($2 per voter) to counties to fund outreach through approaches such as mailings, social media, ethnic and local media, and contracts with community-based organizations. Supported by CA Enviro Voters.
These investments are necessary to address the convergence of hardships Californians are experiencing, with disproportionate burden born by communities of color and low-income communities. The investments would help all Californians, regardless of zip code and socioeconomic status, not just survive these uncertain times but thrive as we seek to come out of this precarious moment.
The Courage California team and our members