Today, December 10, 2020, the Assembly Democrats released their 2021-22 Budget Blueprint with the theme, “Preserve, Respond, Protect, Recover.” The blueprint highlights the Assembly Democrats top issues that will guide their work as they prepare for a future economic downturn and provide a state response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislature will convene on January 4, 2021.

The Assembly Democrats have laid out an education plan that includes repaying the cash deferrals, reopening schools, targeting funding for learning loss, providing transitional kindergarten for all 4-year olds, and increasing early learning provider rates.

Preserve: Restore state services and prepare for future downturns.

  • Repay school and community college deferrals.
  • Restore one-time funding 2020 cuts to UC, CSU, Courts, Housing, Child Support.
  • Undo program suspension cuts to critical health and human services programs like IHSS.
  • Retain reserve funding for future shortfalls.

Respond: Provide essential State response to COVID-19.

  • Reinvest in public health infrastructure to respond to COVID-19, including vaccine distribution, workforce development, telehealth flexibilities, testing, and behavioral health responses.
  • Safely reopen K-12 schools and target education funding to prevent learning loss.
  • Protect vulnerable seniors in skilled nursing facilities from new COVID-19 outbreaks.
  • Ensure greater transparency and oversight of federal and state disaster-related funding.
  • Mitigate the impact of COVID-19 in state prisons and commit to a long-term infrastructure investment and closure plan.
  • Increase workplace safety enforcement.

Protect: Help those Californians most impacted by the crisis.

  • Help Californians most adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and use an equity lens to evaluate solutions.
  • Implement TK-for-all 4-year-old children beginning in 2021 and increase rates for all early childhood education providers facing increased costs due to COVID-19.
  • Appropriate funding for wildfire prevention and mitigation activities.
  • Streamline program rules to reduce barriers to entry and retain current families in Medi-Cal, CalWORKs, CalFresh, IHSS, and other major programs that assist vulnerable Californians.
  • Provide ongoing homelessness prevention state funding, while incorporating best practices in determining service provision models.
  • Expand current housing support and assistance programs that target vulnerable Californians, including low-income families with children and abused or neglected older adults over aged 60, by increasing program length and eligibility.
  • Increase financial aid and basic needs support that allows California college students to stay in school and complete their degree on time.
  • Oversee effective implementation of juvenile justice realignment.
  • Increase the EITC amount for all filers and allow families with no income to earn the Young Child Tax Credit.

Recover: Targeted stimulus to help Californians rebuild the economy.

  • Provide coordinated and streamlined assistance to small businesses and nonprofits.
  • Create a state program to prevent evictions and support mom-and-pop landlords.
  • Modernize the Employment Development Department and eliminate the unemployment insurance backlog, including delays in benefits due to fraud.
  • Increase re-training programs at community colleges to help unemployed workers, including expanding professional development centers.
  • Create a Climate Crisis investment plan to guide the expenditure of GGRF revenue, including funding for clean transportation, air pollution mitigation, and adaptation.
  • Develop an infrastructure strategy to stimulate the economy and benefit communities that have been left behind, including:
    • addressing polluted water systems
    • cleaning up abandoned toxic sites
    • expanding affordable broadband, and
    • building farmworker housing