Gov. Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget would double a state tax credit for low-income Californians and take the first steps toward universal preschool. But a coalition of advocates and Democratic lawmakers seeking to end deep child poverty is seeking much more from Newsom and the Legislature.
Among their proposals are a welfare grant increase beyond the governor’s budget proposal, and a targeted child tax credit that would also function as a rental subsidy.
“I’m sure that it felt to many of you like you were pushing a rock up a very tall hill, without much help,” Democratic Asm. Laura Friedman, who’s authoring a bill to fund 15,000 transitional housing units for foster youth, told advocates gathering for lobbying visits at the Capitol Tuesday. “But I do believe that with Gov. Newsom’s commitment and the Legislature’s commitment, you’re gonna have the whole state of California now pushing that rock with you.”
Democratic Sen. Anna Caballero is proposing a legislative mandate that California cut child poverty by 50 percent — and eliminate deep child poverty altogether.
Experts define “deep poverty” as a family of four earning less than $12,500 a year — 50 percent of the federal poverty line.
“We do this for climate, right?” Caballero said. “We have goals and we have targets and we’ve been doing a tremendous job in this state. So what this bill would do is to say, if we can do it for climate change in our state, we can certainly do it for deep poverty and poverty in our state as well.”
Among the groups in the coalition are the Western Center for Law and Poverty, First 5 California, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the California Association of Food Banks.
Newsom’s Department of Finance argues the governor’s budget already includes “broad-based and robust” investments that directly target child poverty.
They include a doubling of a state tax credit for low-income working families, the first steps toward expanding preschool to all income-eligible 4 year olds, and a smaller welfare grant increase than the one proposed by advocates.
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