Health care for undocumented seniors, $ 600 stimulus checks in upcoming California budget – San Francisco Chronicle


SACRAMENTO – As the deadline approaches, budget lawmakers said Friday evening they had reached a budget framework with Gov. Gavin Newsom negotiating deals on funding the homeless, health insurance for the homeless. elderly undocumented migrants and other ongoing political differences.

But officials, who declined to testify, said some key details remained unresolved even as lawmakers prepared to revise the $ 262.2 billion spending plan on Monday, three days before the start of the new fiscal year. to adopt.

Lawmakers already approved a generic budget last week to meet a constitutional requirement and get paid, and negotiations on sharing an increase in tax revenue have continued. A surprisingly robust economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has left California with an estimated discretionary surplus of $ 38 billion as well as $ 26 billion in federal stimulus funds, leading to a number of competing proposals on liberal priorities such as access to health care, early childhood scholarships and college.

The deal has been delayed in recent days as officials haggled payments to government-subsidized child care providers. Legislative leaders gathered outside the Capitol on Thursday, with hundreds of vendors urging the governor to raise their tariffs.

Legislative budget officials have said discussions about how much to increase fees for child care providers are underway. Tracking calculations are also needed to complete several other spending programs, including $ 6 billion to expand broadband Internet access, $ 3.7 billion for climate resilience projects, $ 3 billion to do in the face of rapidly worsening drought and $ 1 billion for forest fire preparedness, according to a summary document submitted by officials.

Newsom’s governor’s office and Treasury Department spokespersons did not immediately respond.

In a historic move, the budget would extend eligibility for Medi-Cal, the government’s health care program for the poor, to undocumented migrants aged 50 or older. Undocumented migrants from low-income families are already eligible for insurance until the age of 26. Newsom had proposed that the program for undocumented migrants from the age of 60 be discontinued.

The deal includes $ 1 billion per year for each of the next two years to help local governments pay for homeless services and an undisclosed amount to renew Homekey, a pandemic program to transform hotels, motels and the like. vacant buildings in supportive homes for homeless Californians. Newsom had aimed for a wider expansion of Homekey, which he identified as one of his outstanding accomplishments in rapidly building thousands of new homes.

It does not include an increase in funding for public health officials, which lawmakers had called for in the wake of the pandemic, although legislative budget officials have said they will return to the matter in the coming years. .

The spending plan would strengthen California’s financial position a year after the pandemic-induced recession forced the state to close a forecast deficit of $ 54 billion. The reserve accounts that officials drew into last year would reach more than $ 25 billion, and the state would repay $ 11 billion in deferred funding for K-12 schools.

California is also reportedly spending $ 8.1 billion on a second stimulus package to help ease financial pain from the pandemic. The state already allocated $ 3.8 billion earlier this year to pay $ 600 to millions of low-income households and residents who participate in government welfare and social security programs.

Under the budget, additional checks of $ 600 would go to middle-income households, up to $ 75,000 per year, which did not receive the first round of support. Families with children and undocumented migrants would receive an additional $ 500, so some taxpayers could receive multiple payments from the state.

Other pandemic relief programs in the budget include an additional $ 2.6 billion to help the state cover all the rents low-income tenants missed during the pandemic; $ 2 billion to pay overdue utility bills; and $ 1.5 billion in small business grants.

The budget summary also outlines the agreements to gradually roll out universal preschool for 4-year-olds over the next four years and to roll out extensive after-school and summer programs in low-income neighborhoods, spending $ 3 billion. dollars to create more community. schools with social services on campus, expands a college scholarship program for middle-class families of $ 515 million, and spends $ 211 to fight, among other things, the increase in gun violence.

Alexei Koseff is a contributor to the San Francisco Chronicle. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @akoseff

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