SACRAMENTO–Both the Assembly and Senate voted on the state budget today.
“There is a lot to be proud of in this budget,” said Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa). “This budget continues paying down debt, adds to reserves and is a fiscally responsible budget that will help many more Californians.”
During the recession many Medi-Cal services for disadvantaged Californians were cut or funding reduced, including dental, podiatry, optical services and more. This budget restores many of those programs and funding. “There is still work to do to fully fund programs for our most vulnerable seniors,” said Wood. “Although my requests to fund senior nutrition programs and services that allow seniors to remain at home rather than in a nursing home came through, I was disappointed that funding to increase the ombudsman program for nursing homes was not. Putting more money in that program can protect the health and safety of seniors rather than dealing with problems after the fact.”
The budget provides expanded health care premium assistance for people with low and middle class incomes, up to 600 percent of the federal poverty level. “I had hoped to expand that to 800 percent, allowing an individual with income up to $97,000 to receive premium assistance,” said Wood.
“The budget continues to support education, from preschool to free community college, it continues to fund projects that protect the environment and begins to address housing and homelessness, and I’m encouraged by that,” said Wood. The budget includes $650 million for emergency shelters and $100 million for wrap-around services for homeless residents. Another $500 million has been added for affordable housing.
More than $9 million in funding was provided to improve research for atmospheric rivers. “My bill, AB 557, requested this funding so that we can do the research we need to update the methods we use to predict these storms so that we can better manager our water resources throughout the year,” Wood said.
“There are a lot of competing, and worthy, funding requests leading up to the final budget and they don’t all make it, but overall, I’m very pleased with the progress this budget has made in improving the lives of Californians,” said Wood.
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