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Alex Johnson, Executive Director of Children’s Defense Fund-California, released the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal:
“With California’s fiscal health improving, now is the time to invest in the health and well-being of California’s children and rebuild our tattered social safety net. Unfortunately, the Governor’s proposed budget falls short of providing the resources necessary to end child poverty in California and fully support crucial programs for our most vulnerable children and families.
The historic investment in K-12 education is a critical step, but we also need a budget that addresses the root causes of educational gaps. Quality health care, child care and early education are important family supports needed for children to survive and flourish. If we want our investments in California’s public schools to be successful, we need to be making investments to ensure that our children don’t live in poverty or come to school hungry or sick.
The Governor is using the threat of future recession to justify not making critical investments of our most vulnerable children today. We cannot afford to continue allowing 1 in 4 children in California to live in poverty, struggling to meet basic needs on a daily basis. We can be fiscally and morally responsible by making smart investments in California’s future by protecting and supporting our children.
We were pleased to see that the Governor’s budget proposal reflects the implementation of the creation of California’s new state Earned-Income Tax Credit to support poor working families and the extension of Medi-Cal coverage to all children, regardless of immigration status. And although minimal, the inclusion of the first cost-of-living increase for Supplement Security Income/State Supplement Payment recipients since 2006 was a good first step.
We encourage the Governor and the Legislature to develop a final budget that invests in the whole child and strengthens the safety net to create a stronger future for all of California’s children and families.”