2003 Budget Priorities | 2004 Budget Priorities
2007 Budget Priorities
1. Reject CalWORKs Changes. The Governor's budget proposes to eliminate both CalWORKs safety net and child only grants and impose a full-family sanction to families that have not complied after 90 days. This proposal would eliminate the only income source for thousands of API families, especially refugee populations.
Safety net grants are for children whose parents do not work sufficient hours to meet federal work participation requirements after “timing-out.” This proposal would be implemented in November 2007 and would result in General Fund savings of $175.8 million. CalWORKs adult recipients are limited to 60 cumulative months of cash assistance. Under current law, children continue to receive cash aid until they are 18 years of age, as long as the family meets CalWORKs eligibility guidelines, regardless of how many hours their parents work after timing-out. Although information is still being gathered on the specific characteristics of the safety net caseload, there are an estimated 100,000 children in over 45,000 families receiving safety net cash assistance in 2006-07.
API community advocates have noted that APIs are overrepresented in the families that timed out of the CalWORKs program. According to these advocates, many Southeast Asian refugee families face language and cultural issues that hinder their ability to transition from welfare to work. For some of these families, the proposed reduction would result in a loss of all income.
The budget also proposes to impose a “full-family” sanction whereby a family’s entire grant is eliminated for those families with an adult who does not comply with CalWORKs requirements for more than 90 days. This proposal would result in a General Fund cost of $11.4 million because it assumes 70 percent of sanctioned cases would begin working (or participate in an allowable non-work activity) and need child care, as a result of the change.
Under current law, when an adult fails to meet CalWORKs requirements, the family’s grant is reduced by the amount attributable to the adult, but cash aid continues for the children in the family. This “partial-family” sanction is intended to provide a subsistence allowance to preserve the well-being of the children even if their parents have been sanctioned. Research by the Welfare Policy Research Project at the University of California shows that sanctioned adults face greater barriers to work. Many API families face language and cultural barriers that can result in non-compliance. This proposal will make it harder for these families to participate in welfare activities. Existing research does not support the conclusion that more punitive sanctions will result in increased work participation.
The Governor's budget also proposes to eliminate after 60 months grants to children whose parents are not eligible for CalWORKs. These parents are ineligible because they are undocumented non-citizens, drug felons, or fleeing felons. The children include US citizen children of undocumented non-citizens. Under current law, the CalWORKs grants provided to children of ineligible parents are not subject to a time limit. This proposal would be implemented in November 2007 and result in General Fund savings of $160 million.
2. Maintain UC's and CSU Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnerships (SAPEP)
The Governor's proposed budget eliminates all $26.3 million General Fund for University of California and California State University academic preparation programs and educational partnerships. The elimination of the General Fund will reduce overall funding for these programs by 31.7 percent.
The 2006-07 Budget Act provided $31.3 million in General Fund for academic preparation programs for the University of California. Of this amount, $19.3 million were General Fund and $12 million were UC funds as agreed by the UC in the Compact Agreement with the Governor. Out of the $19.3 million, $2 million were designated for the UC/Community Colleges Transfer Initiative, which includes a new comprehensive set of goals to increase the number of community colleges students who transfer to the UC.
The 2006-07 Budget Act provided $52 million for these programs at California State University. Of this amount, $7 million were General Fund and $45 million were CSU funds. In the Compact, the CSU agreed to provide no less than $45 million to support the continuation of the "most effective" programs. The Compact also states that "additional funding provided by the State would be subject to the annual budget act."
Student Academic Preparation programs, formerly known as "Outreach Programs", have experienced severe budget cuts to the point where the support for these programs at the UC has fallen by more than 50 percent from an all time high of $85.1 million in 2000-01 to $29.3 million in 2004-05.
SAPEP programs have become the gateway to higher education by providing elementary, middle and high school students with instruction in the areas of academic development, academic advising, study skills training, career exploration, mentorship and test preparation for college admission exams. Most of the students that participate in these programs come from low-income families, are the first generation in their family to attend college, are English-language learners (ELL) and/or are attending a low performing school. For the 2005-06 year, preliminary numbers of student participants indicate that academic preparation programs at the UC served 325,057 students
The API Legislative Caucus has previously taken a position to oppose proposed reductions to these programs.