By Tamika Farr
“In the midst of economic uncertainty, I’m relieved that Governor Newsom reinforced his commitment to investment in critical programs that are indispensable to all Californians. The annual release of the state budget elicits feelings of apprehension from Ealy Childhood Education (ECE) advocates across the state, particularly during a year when economic experts project budget deficits for the foreseeable future. The Governor made it clear that maneuvering out of a $22.5 billion state deficit won’t be easy, but despite the shortfall, I commend the Governor for his determination to prioritize services that support the state’s most vulnerable.
The Governor’s budget proposal outlines key investments to vulnerable communities across that state including $4.7 billion for children and youth behavioral health, $4 billion for college student housing, $15.3 billion for homeless services, and nearly $24 billion for healthcare programs. ECE advocates were pleased to see increased funding in K-12 services from PROP 98 funds, $1.2 billion in ongoing funds for Universal Transitional Kindergarten (UTK), and an expansion of subsidize child care slots.
These are all welcomed commitments in the face of severe funding restraints. However, I hope that the Governor will maintain his commitment to these terms and his earlier goals of focusing on economic development and bolstering the key sectors that will grow our economy, the ECE field. To achieve this, child care providers must be compensated equitably by increasing their work rates. The state must continue to prioritize the child care industry moving forward in order to ensure a true economic recovery.
If budgets reflect our values, then the legislature will work with the Governor to ensure that our communities’ most vulnerable receive the funding and resources that they need now more than ever.”
Tamika Farr is the CEO of Pathways LA, a non-profit resource and referral agency that supports the healthy development and school readiness of young children from disadvantaged children.