UnidosUS Statement on Governor Newsom’s May Budget Revision

SACRAMENTO, CA—Last Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his official revision to the proposed California budget for 2022–2023.

UnidosUS is commending the governor’s commitment to addressing the urgent and systemic issues impacting Californians’ most vulnerable communities. Continued support is needed to promote equity and access to California’s 15 million Latinos and their families.

UnidosUS California State Director Esmeralda Lopez issued the following statement on the budget:

“UnidosUS is pleased to see that the budget revisions include many of our key priorities for affordable housing, health care and education. We are particularly encouraged to see $2.7 billion for rental assistance, because this will have a big impact on thousands of Californians, but especially Latinos. According to the state’s COVID-19 Rent Relief dashboard, Latinos make up 35 percent of all applications. UnidosUS has advocated for this program in California, and in Washington, DC. Reports indicate that Latino renters represent nearly 50 percent of severely cost-burdened renter households, but only 35 percent of applicants. We also welcome the inclusion of $1.4 billion to help Californians pay past-due utility bills through state and local programs established during the height of the pandemic.

“We strongly support the additional $1.1 billion for COVID-19 response, which includes more funding to support school testing and increase vaccination rates, and the continued support for Medi-Cal expansion. Latinos saw the highest COVID-19 exposure rates and disproportionate death rates in California, so it is critical that state leaders continue to address the disproportionate impacts the pandemic has had on Latinos. UnidosUS offers resources to ensure Latinos, have trusted and verified information.

“While the May Revision made some additional investments to address the critical shortage of affordable housing, additional funding is needed to prioritize affordable housing, housing stability and promote access to homeownership for underserved borrowers. We think investments to create a new Community Anti-Displacement & Preservation Program to support mission-driven organizations to prevent displacement in unsubsidized rental housing, is needed.

“We applaud the governor for providing additional funding to support structural changes to California’s K–12 education system and the governor’s goal of having 70 percent of all working Californians obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate. However, more investments are needed to adequately address the shortage and professional development of bilingual educators as well as investments to ensure college affordability for our most vulnerable students. While the proposed budget includes additional support for financial aid, the Cal Grant program better targets serving students with the highest need. Cal Grant Reform is needed to build on last year’s investments and ensure the academic success of low-income students of color in higher education.

“The May Revision did not include creating a $255 minimum in California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) for all workers, providing a larger credit for 400,000 families. It also did not include providing $2,000 per child credit for all children in families who receive the CalEITC. The EITC is a powerful tool to combat poverty because it supplements the income of low- and middle-income workers through a refundable tax credit.

“We appreciate the governor’s investments to support the well-being of communities disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. As the governor and legislature finalize the state budget, UnidosUS is committed to ensuring that Latinos are fully included in the final budget. Investing in the needs of Latinos means investing in the success of California.”