Last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom released a bold $209 billion proposed budget for 2019-20 to tackle some of our state’s most complex issues. For the over 15 million Latinos who live in California, this budget presents an opportunity to work alongside the Newsom administration to truly create a California that reflects our interests. With California now the fifth largest economy in the world, acknowledging the hard work and grit of the Latino community by continuing to support our growth is essential.
As legislative proposals and bills are introduced, we urge the new administration and legislature to keep Latinos top of mind as we are critical to nearly every part of the state’s economic machine.
Here are top 5 takeaways in Newsom’s budget for Latinos to monitor:
The census is a decennial American tradition that counts all people every decade and allocates political representation and federal dollars to the states based on that count. Governor Newsom has allocated an additional $50 million for census outreach and education. This will now bring state census funding to $140.3 million. With over five million Latinos living in hard-to-count communities across California, this investment is a down-payment to ensure that Latinos are accurately counted in the next census.
California’s future hinges on the educational success of Latino students. That success begins when children can access pre-school and kindergarten programs. Yet, according to Children Now, only 42% of Latino children in the state are enrolled in these types of programs. In this budget, Governor Newsom makes an investment for the future that includes $125 million to achieve universal preschool. The early years are critical for a child’s long-term success.
There are 2.1 million students across California’s 114 community colleges. Roughly 44 percent of them are Latino. Governor Newsom is allocating $40 million to ensure a second year of free community college tuition. Because of this, more Latino students will have the opportunity to thrive in their educational pursuits. Moreover, Newsom’s budget includes $2 million investment to study the possibility of a new Cal State University in San Joaquin County. Over 1 in 3 Latinos live in the county. This is a huge first step in advancing higher education in the Central Valley.
The ability to access and afford high-quality health care is intimately linked the economic mobility of Latinos. More than half of those uninsured Californians are Latino and additionally the majority are also undocumented. In this budget, Governor Newsom is proposing $260 million to expand Medi-Cal coverage to eligible young adults ages 19-25 regardless of citizenship status. This is a critical starting point to ensure that we can accomplish health care for all in the state.
Home ownership is a symbol of the American dream, and one of the biggest levers towards economic independence. Yet only 42 percent of Latinos in the state own homes. Governor Newsom’s budget proposes $1.3 billion to build more housing, especially for low- and moderate-income housing. When Latinos continue to face barriers to homeownership, this bold investment comes at the right time for our community.
Budgets are more than just spreadsheets that show how we spend our money. They reflect what we prioritize, what we value, and how we will invest in the future.
Governor Newsom envisions a ‘California for All’ and the Latino Community Foundation is ready to be at the frontlines to ensure Latinos are included.