Governor Newsom’s proposed 2022-23 state budget is based on a second consecutive year of higher than expected state revenues and a continued focus on many of the issues seen in previous budgets, including response to the impacts of COVID-19, ongoing economic recovery plans for Californians, and support for social issues like education, health care, and nonprofits. This year, state leaders will also have to resolve how to work within the constitutional spending created by the Gann limit in order to help Californians – especially historically underserved populations – have a sustainable, better future. In this look at philanthropy’s role in budget advocacy, we’ve identified three focus areas of the budget that are top-of-mind for SCG’s members and partners.
Climate and Sustainable Communities
Climate conditions are worsening each year, with one of the main symptoms being wildfires, which destroy thousands of acres of forests and California infrastructure yearly. These disasters affect fire-prone communities and homeowners, particularly marginalized communities who often have a more challenging time recovering financially from rebuilding losses and might not have an accessible evacuation plan. California is also plagued by drought as our climate changes dramatically, and many of our reservoirs continue to drop to extremely low levels after several dry seasons. Additionally, lowering transportation emissions remains a priority for Newsom’s administration.
Within the new budget, the Governor proposes increasing funding for cleaner transportation systems, more support for the agencies that address the climate conditions from wildfires and ongoing droughts, and efforts to improve public health through environmental improvements. A few highlights:
$9.1 billion (over two years) for transportation programs and projects that align with climate goals, advance public health and equity, and improve access to opportunity
$6.1 billion (one-time over five years) for zero-emission vehicle acceleration with a focus on communities that are most impacted, investing especially in disadvantaged and low-income communities, including tribal communities
$2 billion for a Clean Energy Investment Plan that will spur additional innovation and deployment of clean energy technologies in the energy system
$1.2 billion to expand the comprehensive wildfire and forest resilience strategy to advance critical investments in forest health and fire protection
$1 billion for housing development that also furthers the state’s climate goal, including $300 Million for Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities and $25 million to develop regional Climate and Health Resilience Plans
Housing & Homelessness
Having a safe and stable place to live is one of the most basic foundations for health and well-being. California has over 161,000 individuals experiencing homelessness, with 32% of that population being chronically homeless and 23% experiencing severe mental illness. Being unhoused has detrimental effects on one’s physical and mental health, creating barriers to maintaining employment, preserving a stable living environment, and readjusting back into the community. There are significant disparities in unhoused populations, with Black, American Indian, Pacific Islander, and LGBTQ+ Californians experiencing houselessness at higher rates. The Governor’s current budget proposal expands on the previous year’s plan, which invested $10.3 billion in housing, allocating additional funds to address housing and support services and the needs of behavioral services for individuals.
$2 billion (in addition to the $5.8 billion for 2022-23 included in the 2021 Budget Act) for the expansion of access to housing for vulnerable populations with complex behavioral health conditions and people living in encampments
$500 million in Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and $500 million to increase affordable housing options and help local governments meet their Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) goals
$10.6 million to continue the Returning Home Well Program, which provides transitional housing services to individuals who would otherwise be at risk of being unhoused at the time of their release
Career Pathways and Education
Promoting pathways early on for students to advance academically and professionally can increase the number of students pursuing additional education, gaining valuable skills for the future, and building financial stability through consistent employment. Students of color and those from low-income backgrounds often experience additional barriers to pursuing educational and professional opportunities, such as responsibilities of caretaking, family obligations, and health issues. Without the proper guidance or equitable pathways for students, career advancement and upward economic mobility may be harder to attain.
Governor Newsom’s budget proposal addresses this issue by calling for funding for all public schools to improve their infrastructure, expanding special needs services, and increasing student access to support and advising services.
$39.6 billion for the three higher education segments and the California Student Aid Commission
$1.5 billion for Golden State Pathways, a new competitive grant program intended to improve college and career readiness
$500 Million to increase dual enrollment, with priority given to local educational agencies where at least half of their student population consists of English learners or low-income students
$120 million to continue to support community college efforts and focused strategies to increase student retention rates and enrollment, primarily to address declining enrollment rates due to the COVID-19 pandemic
$11.6 million in 2022-23, and $500,000 annually after that, for GO-Biz to support statewide coordination for immigrant integration and propel innovation, including through enhanced services for immigrant communities
Philanthropy’s Role in Budget Advocacy
Government and philanthropic organizations have been long-standing partners in solving some of the nation’s most challenging issues. Government funding is crucial for the sustainability of many nonprofits and social support systems, while philanthropic funding is needed to supplement government funds when they may be too restrictive or don’t meet the extent of nonprofit expenses. Because of this mutual investment in the success of community-based organizations, foundations should pay close attention to the Governor’s budget to ensure that the state is allocating funds to where they are needed most and in a way that promotes equitable access and positive outcomes.
There are multiple opportunities within the process of finalizing the budget for foundations to influence California’s future. While making sure to stay within the allowed lobbying limits for public and private organizations, foundations can have a say in changes to the January proposal by attending legislative subcommittee hearings, putting out calls to action, and educating legislators and community members on matters relevant to philanthropy. Not only are foundations uniquely positioned to bring together networks of funders, nonprofits, and individuals to create a united front, but they often hold the expertise that can be vital for providing information for budget amendments.
The three budget categories highlighted above represent a portion of the issues areas that are most important to our members. We recommend the following resources for more information on the budget proposal breakdown: