Sacramento, California - Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) released the following statement regarding today’s passage of the 2015-2016 state budget (AB 93) that passed both the State Assembly and State Senate earlier today.  The budget includes approximately $117.5 billion in General Fund spending and total reserves of $5.7 billion. This includes $1.5 billion in the Regular Reserve and $4.2 billion in the Rainy Day Fund.

“I am pleased to see that our state budget is balanced and on time. Today’s budget agreement (AB 93) not only strengthens California’s fiscal foundation but more importantly makes vital investments in the future of our great State , while at the same time setting aside significant amount of funds in reserve and $2.6 billion to repay past debts, “stated Assemblymember Garcia. “The budget package includes a comprehensive approach to continue restoring essential early educational, social service and health programs which are key to our district.”

On Education:

“I have prioritized early childhood education as a central focus to a successful long-term economic strategy for the state,” said Assemblymember Garcia.  “Studies show that individuals who enroll in a quality preschool program ultimately earned more and are more likely to graduate from high school."

  • Increases funding for student education with $8.2 billion in Proposition 98 funding from the current budget year (2014-15).

  • Expands early childhood education by 409 million including $148 million for preschool and $261 million for childcare and preschool programs above the Proposition 98 school expenditure mandate.   The Legislature’s plan would increase the number of childcare slots by 27,000.

  • Provides $50 million in Broadband Infrastructure Improvement Grants for K-12 schools.

  • Increases funds for all three higher education systems including more money for Cal Grant B, the Middle Class Scholarship, and Dream Loans.

On Small Business Development:

“As Chair of the Assembly Committee on Jobs, Economic Development, and the Economy, I consider small businesses as one of my top priorities,” said Assemblymember Garcia.  “Providing the $2 million in state funds to help support our local small business development centers are critical to ensuring small businesses continue to be the economic drivers to regional economies and our state as a whole.”

  • Appropriates $2 million for business assistance through the federal small business development centers.

  • Approves spending authority of $7.8 million to continue the modernization of the California Business Connect project, the Secretary of States’ online business filing system.

On Workforce Development:

“A workforce with the proper skills and credentials that match employer’s needs is essential to a strong economy d,” said Assemblymember Garcia. “By working with our local schools, community colleges and universities—we will better our workforce and attract more industries.”

  • Approves $400 million for the Career Technical Incentive Grant Program, which will prioritize applications from high schools that will be establishing new CTE programs, serve low-income communities, English learners, foster youth, high drop-out rates, and are located in areas with high unemployment rates.

  • Approves $14 million established apprenticeship programs and $15 million to establish new apprenticeship programs in high-demand occupations at both the community college and high school levels.

Re-Entry Population:

“Workforce development for the re-entry population is a practical strategy for improving access to a stable job,” said Assemblymember Garcia.  “My bill (AB 1093) is a practical approach to maintaining a competitive workforce in the post-recession economy.”

  • Approves $2.6 million to continue contracts for the California Prison Industries Authority’s Career technical Education Program, which will support 342 inmates in receiving training related to pre-apprenticeship programs in carpentry, construction, iron working, and facilities maintenance. 

  • Approves a $19 million plan to reduce prison recidivism including $3 million to nonprofit groups proving programs in prisons, $8 million for grants to community-based organizations currently providing programs to formerly incarcerated individuals, and $1.8 million to local workforce investment boards.

On Public Health, Social Services:

“I am pleased that we continue to make significant strides to reduce poverty by investing in our communities to ensure the needed economic growth and well-being of our residents—this is crucial to the people that I represent in the Coachella and Imperial Valley’s,” said Garcia.

  • Establishes a state Earned Income Tax Credit that is anticipated to lift approximately 50,000 working people out of poverty and 50,000 more low-wage workers and families out of deep poverty.

  • Funds Medi-Cal services for all children regardless of immigration status and increases services for the developmentally disabled.

  • Increases the SSI grants for individuals by $10 per month and restores the annual SSI and CalWORKS COLA.

  • Restores full Medi-Cal dental benefits to adults, beginning January 1, 2016 ($45 million)

  • Provides $3 million in ongoing support for the State Emergency Food Assistance Program.

  • Provides $20 million for farmworker housing including migrant centers and authorizes $7.5 million for Farmworker Assistance as part of the Emergency Drought Response package.

On Natural Resources and Environment:

Drought Response

“This funding is critical for our communities who currently don’t have access to safe drinking water. This appropriation will help address some of these concerns, and move the intent of my bill, AB 434, forward,” said Garcia.

  • Approves $162 million for Department of Water Resources from Prop 1 an the General Fund to support:

    • Ground Water Sustainability planning grants, $38.7 million

    • Agriculture Water Use Efficiency Conservation, $29.8 million

    • Desalination Grand Funding Programs, $44.4 million

  • Also, provides for local assistance:

    • Groundwater contamination, $783 million

    • Water Recycling, $132 million

    • Safe Drinking Water, $180 million for public water system infrastructure improvements to further Safe Drinking Water efforts, this budget adopts trailer bill language that allows the consolidation of water systems in disadvantaged communities located within unincorporated areas or that are served by mutual water companies.

  • Approves $7.5 million in general funds for the Department of Community Services and Development to provide emergency relief and support services to economically disadvantaged Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers and other low-income families in the state.

Cap and Trade

“My bill, AB 1059, helps ensure that Cal-Enviro screen data gap along the California-Mexico border are addressed. This funding will help in the implementation of AB 1059, to ensure that these communities have adequate and reliable data in order to be better positioned to receive greenhouse gas reduction funds for mitigation efforts to improve the quality of life of the residents in the Imperial County,” said Garcia.

  • Approves $30 million of Greenhouse Gas Reduction Funds dedicated for monitoring, standards and administrative functions.

Prop. 1 Implementation

“This funding can go towards the implementation of the New River Strategic plan given the language as it relates to the Urban Streams Restoration program changes we are making in our AB 965 bill,” said Garcia.

  • Approves $2.38 billion to begin the first year of the expenditure plan, including:

    • $178 million for various watershed protection and restoration  

  • Approves $475 million for projects to improve drinking water in disadvantaged communities.

On Veterans:

“It is our duty to provide our veterans, and military families the needed resources and services that are owed to them a timely manner, there should be no excuses for that,” said Garcia.

  • For California veterans, an additional $3 million in the General Fund to support County Veteran Service Officers; and establishes 36 permanent positions within the Department of Veterans Affairs to address the continued federal claims backlog.

On Public Safety:

“We need to provide local law enforcement with additional funding for training and tools in order to strengthen the relationships between peace officers and their communities they serve. We must change how we do business in the state and invest in our very own backyards,” said Garcia.

  • Increases Community Corrections Performance Grants to local probation departments by $1.1 million in 2015-2016.

  • Authorizes up to $10 million for programs and initiatives intended to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Grant funds may be used to support efforts including, but not limited to, training and research, community partnerships, or restorative justice programs.

  • Allocation of $7.8 million for local public safety infrastructure projects.