Newsom Begins Final Bill-signing Tasks Before Budget Deadline

Slowly but surely, Gov. Gavin Newsom is signing key budget bills, often waiting until the drop-dead deadline. But in an effort to secure his infrastructure streamlining proposals, he appears to be waiting to give his final OK to 20 budget-related bills, including trailer bills that fill in the budget’s details and take effect immediately.

Besides signing off on the main budget bills for the 2023-24 fiscal year on June 27 and June 30, the governor also approved one to boost reimbursements for certain Medi-Cal providers by using funds from a bigger tax on health insurance plans.

On Monday, the Assembly finished its votes on Newsom’s series of infrastructure streamlining bills, although not without reservations. Democratic Assemblymember Carlos Villapudua of Stockton, expressed his wish that legislators had “more than a few weeks to flesh this proposal out,” reports Politico.

Today, the Senate is expected to take its final vote on the infrastructure package, agreeing to some Assembly amendments before sending it to Newsom’s desk. To keep up with other key budget dates, check out CalMatters’ updated timeline of the whole process.

As a follow-up to the budget deal, child care providers and the state reached a tentative agreement on Friday, hours before the union contract for 40,000 home-based providers was to expire. The budget already includes $1 billion for boosting provider pay. This new contract — which, if the state and the union confirm it later this summer, will last through 2025 — also sets up a first-in-the-nation retirement fund for providers, most of whom are women of color.

Through months of negotiation, child care providers argued that they don’t get paid enough by the state to cover the cost of their businesses. In a statement, the union said the new deal would set workers “on the path to finally be reimbursed for the full cost of providing care.” Besides receiving an ongoing $80 million a year toward retirement, providers would also receive an ongoing $100 million for health care and $600 million over two years in rate increases.

One issue where the the budget has fallen short, according to advocacy groups: homelessness. In particular, Newsom’s strategy of awarding one-time grants — instead of ongoing funding — has made it difficult for homeless service providers to find new sources of support.

This approach especially hurts long-term programs that have the greatest chance of making a difference. Without guaranteed funding, they either have to continually keep reapplying for grants or shut down altogether.

One encampment outreach program in Grass Valley that paired a social worker with a police officer exceeded expectations, engaging with more than 200 people and helping some move into housing. But after its three-year grant ended in June, the program could no longer continue.

Lynn La is a reporter with CalMatters.

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