CalNonprofits Articles

When it’s Jerry Brown talking about the state budget.

At the annual press conference to release California’s proposed state budget, Governor Brown started out his remarks with “Relative to years past, the state budget is in good shape.” He went on to brag that California has one of the highest minimum wages in the country; education funding is up and we have a healthy revenue surplus. And he pointed out that his new budget proposal includes the first increase in payments for the blind, elderly and disabled since 2006.

But lest we get too excited, in response to other proposals to increase human services funding, he quipped, “Too many goods, too quickly, become bad.” Um, what? And so starts our yearly budget wrestling match.

Some legislators have hit the ground running. On Day One of the new legislative session on Monday, Senator Kevin de León, along with other Senate Democrats, boldly proposed a $2 billion bond to build homes for homeless people with mental illnesses, and is pushing for $200 million in general fund revenue over four years to pay for rent subsidies for homeless people.

And Assemblymember Anthony Rendon – former director of the nonprofit Plaza de la Raza Child Development Services -- has made it clear that he intends to use his new role as Speaker of the Assembly to get more resources for early childhood education. “It’s something I think there’s already support for and something...I’m going to make sure is on the top of the agenda,” Rendon said.

Meanwhile, Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey of Palmdale, California, wants an additional $250 million to $300 million for services for the developmentally disabled. He notes that money for the state's developmental disability programs has decreased nearly $1 billion since the start of the recession.

There’s a lot of competition for not just funds but also visibility, and nonprofit advocacy groups will have to be steadfast and smart to secure funds for the programs and constituencies they care about. Let the wrestling matches begin!

-- Nancy Berlin, CalNonprofits Policy Director

Nancy Berlin is the former director of the California Partnership and project coordinator of the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger & Homelessness. She has been the Policy Director at CalNonprofits since 2014.

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