California Latino Legislative Caucus Leadership Statement on the 2023-24 State Budget
SACRAMENTO—Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes, Chair, and Senator Lena Gonzalez, Vice Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus (CLLC), made the following statements regarding Governor Gavin Newsom signing the 2023-24 State Budget today:
“As California ascends to become the world's fourth-largest economy, its success depends on the well-being of our state’s vast and diverse Latino population, which comprises nearly 16 million Latinos. Ensuring our budget was balanced, protects our state’s most vulnerable residents while continuing to progress on equal and equitable health access for all, clearly demonstrates our values as Californians,” said Assemblymember Sabrina Cervantes (D-Riverside), Chair.
The budget passed by the Legislature maintains the Governor’s proposal to expand Medi-Cal to all seniors 65 and over, regardless of immigration status, while also making progress towards achieving full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status.
“As Chair of the Latino Caucus, I am proud that our Caucus fought vigorously to make sure our Latino communities are prioritized in this year’s budget,” Chair Cervantes added. “On behalf of the Caucus, we commend the Governor for working with us to address the urgent needs of our Latino communities, including the expansion of healthcare access and food security; enhancing workers' economic security; bolstering education investments; investments for museums and cultural centers that reflect our Latino diversity; as well as human rights and dignity for our missing and murdered Indigenous people. We also want to thank Governor Newsom and Legislative Leadership for working with us to fight for our immigrant and undocumented communities.”
“As Vice Chair of the Latino Caucus, I am pleased to see a well-balanced budget that protects our progress and that also supports the diverse needs of our Latino community. Through this budget, Latino families will benefit from investments that will enhance access to healthcare, higher education, arts and culture opportunities, jobs, and more. I am especially grateful for the dedicated leadership of Governor Newsom and the Legislature to maintain and advance our climate commitments from improving public transit to building the necessary infrastructure to reduce emissions in our state,” said Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), Vice Chair.
Specifically, the 2023-24 State Budget includes:
$40 million for Atmospheric Flood Damage Relief - Pajaro (Monterey) & Planada (Merced) - The CLLC led meetings to advocate for the needs of our undocumented community members impacted by the Atmospheric Rivers in Monterey County and Merced that damaged over 20,000 acres of local agriculture and farmlands, causing significant job loss.
$150 million for Humanitarian Mission - Border Regions - The CLLC advocated for support and direct assistance to address urgent needs at the California-Mexico Border after the termination of Title 42.
The 38 members of the CLLC appreciate that Governor Newsom shared many of the Caucus’ priorities and invested in the following:
- $3.5 billion protecting the 2022 Budget Agreement investment towards the expansion of full-scope Medi-Cal coverage to all income-eligible Californians, regardless of immigration status.
- $300 million to help create a new emergency loan program for financially distressed hospitals to help prevent the closure or facilitate the reopening of financially distressed hospitals.
- $43.3 million for the expansion of the California Food Assistance Program (CFAP) for all income-eligible Californians regardless of immigration status while also including a timely implementation date for the expansion of CFAP to those ages 55 and older.
- $20 million to extend the Bilingual Teacher Professional Development Program.
- $12 million for grants to support local tribes to investigate cases of missing and murdered indigenous persons, building on the investment made in the 2022 Budget Act, which included $12 million General Fund over three years for this effort.
- $10 million one-time General Fund for the Promotoras de Salud Program.
- $10 million for the Museum of Latin American Art through the California Natural Resources Agency.
- $7 million for the Dolores Huerta Peace and Justice Cultural Center through the California Natural Resources Agency.
- $2.5 million to support the East Los Angeles Community College Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.
- $915,000 for automation and other implementation costs necessary to initiate the CalFresh Minimum Nutrition Benefit Pilot Program to provide eligible households with a minimum monthly CalFresh benefit.
Since its creation in 1973, the California Latino Legislative Caucus has grown in number and stature. There are now a record 38 members of the Caucus, including 35 legislators, 3 constitutional officeholders, and a historic majority of 21 Latina members. The Caucus boasts a rich history of empowerment and legislative and political success. It serves as one of the most influential and strategic organizations in California, focusing primarily on improving the quality of life for California’s Latino working families.