By Todd Gloria
In this difficult and uncertain time, Independence Day reminds us that the pursuit of a more perfect union – and a more just, equal and prosperous society – has always been difficult. The COVID-19 pandemic has upended our state’s economy and impacted every sector of our society. But we can overcome this crisis if we work together, just as we have many times before.
July is also the start of California’s new budget year. Fortunately, California has built record reserves over years of responsible budgeting and is positioned to weather the financial impacts of COVID-19. I recently joined my colleagues in the State Assembly to adopt the 2020-2021 State Budget. This compromise budget is not without sacrifice, but it reflects California’s values and meets the most immediate needs of the people of California.
Over the past few weeks, I heard from many of you about potential cuts to education, healthcare and social services. I share your deep concerns. I’m proud that we were able to preserve funding for these essential services. The budget supports vital public health measures to keep Californians safe, such as testing, contact tracing and personal protective equipment. It allocates significant funding for cities and counties to address homelessness, public health and public safety. It responds to the unprecedented disruption to our schools with billions of dollars for students most impacted by learning loss. The budget continues our efforts to expand the California Earned Income Tax Credit to support working families. California also remains on solid financial footing, with more than $11 billion in reserves to safeguard against a lengthy economic downturn.
Looking forward, it is crucial that the federal government provide additional relief. State and local governments are constrained by balanced budget requirements and plummeting revenues. Federal funds will be needed to restore difficult cuts to our public universities and housing programs.
I know many of you are struggling with difficult life changes and financial challenges. Know that you are not alone and that I will continue fighting for more emergency assistance and high-quality service from all our government agencies to give every Californian the certainty and security you deserve. Please contact my office if we can assist you with any state government issues.
Finally, I want to thank all of you for taking care of yourselves and each other. The most important thing we can all do right now is to keep each other safe. We must continue to take all necessary precautions as we reopen responsibly and let science and data guide our decisions. That’s how we save lives and speed our recovery.
— Todd Gloria represents District 78 in the State Assembly. Follow him on Twitter at @AsmToddGloria.