Sonia Campos Rivera, VP of Public Policy and Public Affairs, responds to governor's budget proposal
February 20, 2020
At Gov. Gavin Newsom’s second State of the State, the governor praised California’s ability to not only thrive, but to lead the country, innovate for the future and inspire the world. As the fifth largest economy in the world, California has averaged 3.8 percent GDP growth over five years, since the Great Recession. According to Newsom, one in seven new American jobs have been created in California, where millions of Californians are working to build the California Dream. Working parents now have more money in their pockets as a result of the expansion of Paid Family Leave. Families have an additional $1,000 tax credit. High school students have access to two full years of free community college.
The state has much to celebrate. However, Newsom also acknowledged California’s biggest “disgrace:” homelessness and poverty. It is unacceptable so many Californians live in unbearable conditions. Newsom calls on all of us to take responsibility and contribute to the solution of eliminating systemic poverty. This is why UNITE LA is committed to reducing deep poverty by transforming California’s cradle-to-career educational system and by promoting business-education partnerships, expanding college access and providing workforce development opportunities for all youth to ensure a thriving 21st century economy.
We applaud Gov. Newsom’s recently proposed 2020-21 budget, which paves a promising path to ensuring all families have an equitable opportunity to thrive. Specifically, UNITE-LA applauds the one-time, $5 million investment to support the California Master Plan for Early Learning and Care, the expansion of Paid Family Leave benefits, and the $900 million to address the teacher and administrator shortage. UNITE-LA has long supported Paid Family Leave and currently, UNITE-LA President & CEO David Rattray sits on the governor’s advisory task force for paid family leave. As well, addressing teacher shortage is a problem we do not take lightly. In 2017, Rattray addressed this in an OpEd for EdSource: “We need to consider an approach that treats quality teaching as a workforce imperative.”
Additionally, UNITE LA is pleased with Gov. Newsom’s proposal of $32 million in enrollment growth and supporting the implementation of the California Community College Student Centered Funding Formula, with a five percent increase in funding to CSU ($199 million) and UC ($217 million). These investments will get us closer to reducing deep poverty and setting up an equitable foundation to reach the California Dream for All.
It is our collective responsibility, across every sector and every community, to identify solutions to issues that impact our state, including quality education. UNITE-LA will continue to roll up its sleeves and convene the business community and key stakeholders to ensure we are working towards securing a thriving economy and personal successes for all Californians.