Sacramento, Calif. — On Thursday, June 13th, the California State Legislature passed the state’s 2019-2020 budget with a vote of 60- 17, with 2 abstentions. Assemblymember Buffy Wicks issued the following statement in response to the budget’s passage:
“California’s budget is a statement of values and I am proud we are making serious investments to help working families. Our budget tackles some of the most pressing issues facing California, including major funding increases to public education, gun violence reduction, an expansion of healthcare coverage and investments to combat our housing and homelessness crisis.
This year’s budget is start toward improving our deeply underfunded public schools. We allocated $81.1 billion to fund K-12 public education with additional investments in student mental health, infrastructure and after school education and safety programs. In addition, our budget will greatly expand funding and access to child care and preschool. Time and again, studies show early investments in our children’s learning and health have tremendous, positive impacts on their future and the future of our state. We are moving in the right direction but we still have much to do in the coming years to give our kids the educational opportunities they deserve.
California is making gun safety a priority. It was an honor to champion the California Violence Intervention and Prevention (CalVIP) budget request which tripled funding for proven, gun violence prevention programs to a total of $30 million. Along with my bill, the ‘Break the Cycle of Violence Act’ (AB 1603), California will strengthen CalVIP’s grant program and ensure CalVIP funds continue target the most effective programs in communities with the greatest need. I am incredibly grateful to my partners in the gun violence prevention movement, notably Giffords, Moms Demand Action and the organizations within my district — Advance Peace and YouthAlive!. It is thanks to these groups, and the attention of Governor Gavin Newsom, that we were able to support these effective violence intervention initiatives.
Growing up working-class in rural California, community college was my path to a four-year degree. But today, even the “affordable options” are still too expensive for many California students. I am thrilled our budget is granting a second year of tuition waivers for first-time, full-time community college students through the College Promise Program. In addition, our budget provides funding for students attending the University of California and California State Universities with an emphasis on enrollment growth, support for low-income students and investments in student mental health.
Much of my career was driven by a foundational belief that healthcare is a human right. California is taking a major step in the right direction expanding Medi-Cal access for young adults ages 19-25, regardless of immigration status. We are building toward true universal coverage and I am honored to play a role in the progress.
California is taking bold steps to address our housing and homelessness crisis, adding $2.4 billion in critical investments. This includes major allocations to help local jurisdictions respond to homelessness and an increase in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) for federally subsidized low-income housing projects. The budget will also boost funding for mixed income housing and for various low and moderate income loan programs. This is an important step on a long road to truly eradicate homelessness and ensure all Californians have affordable and stable housing.
There is still more work to be done to make our state prosperous for all of its residents. We are still working to make the necessary investments to fully fund our public education system, support our seniors and fund services for the disabled community, among others. But I am proud of our progress in the legislature and I look forward to the work ahead.”