State bud­get plan aids teach­ers, im­mi­grants

Antelope Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - By ADAM BEAM and DON THOMP­SON

SACRA­MENTO — Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som wants to give $20,000 stipends to teach­ers at high needs schools and ex­tend health care to older low-in­come im­mi­grants who are in the coun­try il­le­gally. He out­lined the plans dur­ing an an­nounce­ment Fri­day of his $329 bil­lion bud­get pro­posal.

The Demo­cratic gover­nor is propos­ing a con­tin­ued pro­gres­sive agenda as he de­fended Cal­i­for­nia’s progress against crit­i­cism from na­tional naysay­ers in the wake of dev­as­tat­ing wild­fires, wide­spread power out­ages and a soar­ing home­less pop­u­la­tion.

His pro­posed bud­get in­creases spend­ing by 2.3% or about $5 bil­lion, but also boosts state re­serves for

any eco­nomic down­turn. It in­cludes $222 bil­lion in state money and $107 bil­lion in fed­eral funds.

His teacher in­cen­tives, which would be given for four years, alone would eat up $100 mil­lion, but New­som said it’s worth the money.

“It’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant that we have a di­verse teach­ing work­force,” he said, “not only have sta­ble, pre­pared, pro­fes­sional teach­ers, but also hav­ing a teacher that looks like you. That’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant, par­tic­u­larly when it comes to African Amer­i­can achieve­ment.”

His im­mi­gra­tion pro­posal would pro­vide health care for 27,000 older low-in­come im­mi­grants who are in the coun­try il­le­gally.

Cal­i­for­nia last year be­came the first state to of­fer full health ben­e­fits to low-in­come adults 25 and younger liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally. The deep-blue state of nearly 40 mil­lion peo­ple has about 3 mil­lion peo­ple who don’t have any health in­surance. About 30% of those are liv­ing in the coun­try il­le­gally, ac­cord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Health Care Foun­da­tion.

“We can’t solve the health care cri­sis if we don’t in­clude them,” Demo­cratic state Sen. Maria Elena Du­razo said in lob­by­ing for ben­e­fits to peo­ple 65 and older in the coun­try il­le­gally.

In 2016, Cal­i­for­nia of­fered full health ben­e­fits to chil­dren 18 and younger re­gard­less of im­mi­gra­tion sta­tus. New­som’s pro­posal con­tin­ues to keep the state at odds with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment’s im­mi­gra­tion poli­cies.

The state’s Demo­cratic Se­nate leader, Toni Atkins, cited New­som’s pro­posal for “record fund­ing for ed­u­ca­tion, solid re­serves, re­lief for small busi­nesses, and in­no­va­tive ideas on cli­mate change, pub­lic safety, health care and many other is­sues” as part of a bud­get plan “so in sync with Cal­i­for­nia val­ues.”

New­som’s bud­get in­cludes a $5.6 bil­lion sur­plus and $21 bil­lion in re­serves for any eco­nomic down­turn.

New­som al­ready provided de­tails on key ar­eas of his bud­get in re­cent days, out­lin­ing steps to curb home­less­ness, wild­fires and the cost of pre­scrip­tion drugs.

On Fri­day he de­clared him­self the state’s “home­less czar,” af­ter promis­ing a year ago to ap­point one, while strik­ing back at Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s re­peated crit­i­cism of the state’s Demo­cratic lead­ers for not do­ing enough.

“He’s tweet­ing, we’re do­ing some­thing,” New­som said. “We don’t need him to iden­tify this prob­lem.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som ges­tures to­ward a chart show­ing the growth of the state’s rainy day fund as he dis­cusses his pro­posed 2020-2021 state bud­get dur­ing a news conference Fri­day in Sacra­mento.

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