Budget Subcommittee Spotlight: 4/13/23

Subcommittee #1 (Education)
Laird (D-Santa Cruz) Chair, Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa), Min (D-Irvine) & Smallwood-Cuevas (D-Los Angeles)

Governor’s Proposal on Arts Reduces Local Schools’ Authority. The subcommittee discussed Proposition 28, a 2022 ballot initiative to guarantee education funding for arts and music, and the Governor’s proposal to cut other arts and music funds by $1.2 billion. Proposition 28 requires that one percent of school funding, projected to be $941 million in 2023-24, be allocated for arts and music education in all K-12 public schools. However, the Governor’s proposed budget would cut other discretionary school funding for arts and music, leaving a net reduction for those programs. Senator Rosilicie Ochoa Bogh (R-Yucaipa) voiced concerns regarding this proposal, citing the Proposition 28 requirement that a school with more than 500 enrolled students must use 80 percent of their allocation on staffing costs, while the existing school funds, which the Governor would cut, provide more autonomy for schools to decide how to use the funding to best serve their needs.  

Subcommittee #2 (Resources, Environmental Protection, and Energy)
Becker (D-Menlo Park) Chair, Dahle (R-Bieber), McGuire (D-Healdsburg)

Advocating to Cut Waste, Not Proven Programs. The subcommittee discussed flood control projects, dam safety, and other resources issues, including cuts the Governor proposed to help address the $22.5 billion budget deficit. Senator Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) raised concerns that the Governor has launched more new programs in the past few years than any governor in California history. Many of these are duplicative or have not yet been implemented, but the Governor’s cuts would harm some essential existing programs. Senator Dahle questioned the Governor’s proposal to cut $13 million in maintenance at forestry facilities, such as look-out towers used for wildfire prevention. Senator Dahle pointed out that $13 million would be eaten up by a few days of fighting a wildfire and that preventive maintenance makes more sense. “It’s like changing the oil in your car before the engine blows up,” he stated. “In the scope of the billions of dollars that roll around [the budget], this $13 million is minor.” Votes on these issues will be taken in May.
Subcommittee #3 (Health and Human Services)
Menjivar (D-San Fernando Valley) Chair, Grove (R-Bakersfield), Eggman (D-Stockton), & Roth (D-Riverside)

Enhanced Protections for Those Seeking Adoptions in California. The subcommittee discussed a budget proposal related to the oversight of “adoption facilitators,” who are independent agents that match potential adoptive parents with birth parents. Currently, the Department of Social Services (DSS) does not provide oversight over adoption facilitators, and claims it does not have the resources necessary to implement legally mandated complaint and process requirements, or to collect civil penalties. A recent investigation by the Sacramento Bee highlighted the vulnerabilities of leaving this industry without sufficient oversight, citing families who have lost tens of thousands of dollars working with adoption facilitators. The Bee points out that many other states have more regulations around the practice, with some states strictly prohibiting the use of facilitators. The budget proposal to strengthen DSS’s oversight of this industry is laudable and warrants further discussion on the best ways to ensure that families who want to adopt can do so in a safe and cost efficient manner.

Subcommittee #4 (State Administration and General Government)
Padilla (D-San Diego) Chair, Niello (R-Fair Oaks), & Caballero (D-Merced)

The subcommittee hearing was canceled.

Subcommittee #5 (Corrections, Public Safety, Judiciary, Labor, and Transportation)
Durazo (D-Los Angeles) Chair, Seyarto (R-Murrieta), & Newman (D-Fullerton)

The subcommittee hearing was canceled.