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Golden State Could have $25 Billion Deficit in 2023-24 Fiscal Year

California taxes wealthy people more than other states, so most of the revenue decline is because the rich aren’t making as much money as they used to. The report details that California could see deficits between $8 billion to $17 billion in the following years.

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The surplus is gone once a budget is passed, according to the LAO, so the fiscal outlook provided to legislators assumes that current state laws and policies will remain in place.
The surplus is gone once a budget is passed, according to the LAO, so the fiscal outlook provided to legislators assumes that current state laws and policies will remain in place.

By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

California’s government may have a faceoff with a $25 billion budget shortfall in the upcoming fiscal year as tax revenues decline, according to a report issued by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO).

During a Nov.16 video press briefing, Legislative Analyst Gabriel Petek said that if the predicted downturn happens, it will be the Golden State’s weakest revenue performance since the 2008 to 2009 Great Recession.

“It is not insignificant, but it is also manageable,” Petek said. “We don’t think of this as a budget crisis. We just think of it as a notable budget problem that the Legislature will have to confront when it begins that process in January.”

The LAO, the state Legislature’s fiscal and policy advisor, details the budget shortfall and suggests ways to avoid it in the 20-page “The 2023-24 Budget: California’s Fiscal Outlook.”

The document is released yearly around this time to help guide California lawmakers as they begin to put together budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year.

Petek said the threat of a national recession and actions by the Federal Reserve played a hand in the report’s outlook, but the predicted numbers are not based on a recession occurring.

“Economic conditions are really weighing on the revenue estimates that are a major influencer of our fiscal output,” Petek said. “With elevated inflation that causes the Fed to have to take action to cool down the economy in its effort to bring down inflation. The longer and the higher inflation remains, the more aggressive the Fed has to be. And the more aggressive the Fed has to be, it really increases the risk that the economy will fall into a recession. So, that being said, our revenue estimates do not assume a recession.”

California taxes wealthy people more than other states, so most of the revenue decline is because the rich aren’t making as much money as they used to. The report details that California could see deficits between $8 billion to $17 billion in the following years.

Less spending on large, one-time allocations is one way the state can offset the revenue losses it is expected to experience.

In response to the LAO budget prediction, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood) said the state has budget resiliency — $37.2 billion in reserves.

“We can and will protect the progress of the recent year’s budgets,” Rendon said. “In particular, the Assembly will protect California’s historic school funding gains, as districts must continue to invest in retaining and recruiting staff to help kids advance and recover from the pandemic.”

State Senate Pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) said that in the past, the dreary budget forecast would have meant program cuts and middle-class tax increases.

“That does not have to be the case this year,” Atkins said. “Thanks to our responsible approach, we are confident that we can protect our progress and craft a state budget without ongoing cuts to schools and other core programs or taxing middle class families. The bottom line is simple: we are prepared to hold onto the gains we’ve made and continue where we left off once our economy and revenues rebound.”

Petek recommended that legislators not look to the reserves to solve the budget paucity when they begin formulating the state spending plan in early 2023.

“It would be prudent to try and identify other solutions in the early part of the budget period, and then if and when we have a lot more information about the economic situation — if revenues have deteriorated for example or if there were a recession, we are certainly not saying don’t use the reserves,” he said. “We are saying, keep them on hold and you have them to turn to in that situation if the picture has gone south in May. You have the reserves that we can tap into to really help supplement the other solutions identified earlier in the process.”

Republican Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) said the report is a wakeup call.

“California’s economy is weakening, and now with persistent inflation, the revenue that is coming into the State of California is coming in way below projection,” Fong said. “As someone who has been on the budget committee for a number of years, we have been warning about this. The ruling party in Sacramento continues to spend and grow government programs without any accountability and the budget is completely unsustainable. We have to refocus on fiscal responsibility.”

LAO’s budget forecast comes on the heels of Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Democratic-controlled Legislature estimated $97 billion surplus that led to the expansion of Medi-Cal eligibility to all immigrants in 2024, a boost in the earned income tax credit, and free preschool for 4-year-olds.

A relief package, priced at $17 billion, to help families, seniors and low-income Californians and small businesses was also approved in June by lawmakers.

The surplus is gone once a budget is passed, according to the LAO, so the fiscal outlook provided to legislators assumes that current state laws and policies will remain in place.

“We make adjustments for caseloads and things that influence the budget expenditures, but if you keep the same policies what would your budget picture look like?” Petek said. “That is what we are trying to tee up for them as they await the governor’s proposal.”

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Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

The printed Weekly Edition of the Oakland Post: Week of June 12-18, 2024

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Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌

More Segregated Than Deep South: ACLU Releases Report on Calif. Public Schools

The 2024 State of Black Education: Report Card was recently published by the American Civil Liberties Union California Action (ACLU California Action). It states that California is the third most segregated state for Black students.  Co-author of the report, policy counsel Amir Whitaker from ACLU Southern California explained the criteria the ACLU use to rank California during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education held at the State Capitol the day after the Memorial Day holiday.

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Asm. Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) was a guest speaker at the State of Black Education report card briefing at the State Capitol on May 29. CBM Photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.
Asm. Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) was a guest speaker at the State of Black Education report card briefing at the State Capitol on May 29. CBM Photo by Antonio Ray Harvey.

By Antonio‌ ‌Ray‌ ‌Harvey‌, California‌ ‌Black‌ ‌Media‌

The 2024 State of Black Education: Report Card was recently published by the American Civil Liberties Union California Action (ACLU California Action). 

It states that California is the third most segregated state for Black students.

Co-author of the report, policy counsel Amir Whitaker from ACLU Southern California explained the criteria the ACLU use to rank California during the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. Board of Education held at the State Capitol the day after the Memorial Day holiday.

“For every state in the Deep South, California (schools) are more segregated,” Whittaker said. “People often think that California is not segregated or unequal as Deep South states and others. The inequalities here (in California) are actually wider.”

New York and Illinois are ahead of California regarding the racial diversity of their student bodies. According to a report May 2022 report by Stanford Graduate School of Education, the Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and New York City school districts are in the top 10 most racially segregated districts for White-Black, White-Hispanic, and White-Asian segregation based on the average levels from 1991-2020.

In bigger school districts, segregation between low-income (students who are eligible for free lunch) and non-low-income students increased by 47% since 1991, according to the Stanford Graduate School’s report.

“That’s why it’s important to look at this data,” Whitaker said. “When you have millions of people living in places like Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, the urban areas are a lot more segregated than the south. That’s a big part of it.

A number of factors contribute to the segregation of schools in California such as parents sending their children to private schools, others optioning for homeschooling, and other reasons, Whitaker said.

The Brown v. Board of Education case declared that separating children in public schools based on race was unconstitutional. However, Whitaker pointed to cases after the landmark decision that circumvented that federal law.

According to a 2014 report by the Civil Rights Project, in the 1990s, decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court decision ended federal desegregation orders in San Francisco and San Jose. In addition, court decisions in the state that ordered desegregation in the 1970s were overturned by the 1990s. Legally, California has no school integration policy to adhere to.

“This is why we did this report. There needs to be a report just on this issue (of school segregation),” Whitaker told California Black Media. “Right now, there’s no task force or anything addressing it. I have never seen the California Department of Education talk about it. This is a pandemic (and) a crisis.”

ACLU Northern California hosted an overview of the report and panel discussion at the State Capitol on May 29. California Black Legislative Caucus member Assemblymember Mia Bonta (D-Alameda) and Sen. Steven Bradford were the guest speakers. Parents, students, educators, and Black education advocates from all over the state attended the 90-minute presentation at the State Capitol.

School segregation is the No. 1 issue listed in among the report’s “24 areas of documented inequality,along with problematic trends of racial harassment, a continuous decline of Black student enrollment, school closures, connection with school staff, chronic absenteeism, low Black teacher representation, and parent participation.

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California Black Media

L.A. Pilot Program Addressing Asian American Hate Could Be California Model

Californians who are Asian American or Pacific Islanders (AAPI) were the targets of an escalated number of hate crimes and hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many AAPI people, particularly the elderly, reported being too scared to leave their homes. Others experienced firsthand hateful incidents stemming from deep-rooted prejudices and stereotypes — such as verbal or physical assaults in public.

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By McKenzie Jackson, California Black Media

Californians who are Asian American or Pacific Islanders (AAPI) were the targets of an escalated number of hate crimes and hate incidents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many AAPI people, particularly the elderly, reported being too scared to leave their homes.  Others experienced firsthand hateful incidents stemming from deep-rooted prejudices and stereotypes — such as verbal or physical assaults in public. Yet, too many of them were hesitant to voice their emotions, according to Yu Wang, an associate marriage and family therapist at the Asian Pacific Counseling and Treatment Center in Los Angeles.

“A space for healing is critically needed,” Wang said, also noting that some Asian cultures don’t put a heavy emphasis on sharing feelings and vulnerabilities. “It makes it difficult to talk about experiences related to racism. Also, many of us lack to the language to express emotions, which exacerbates feelings of isolation and fear.”

The Asian/Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Equity Alliance in collaboration with other Asian American community groups recently launched the Healing Our People through Engagement (HOPE) pilot program in Los Angeles County geared at healing racial trauma experienced by Asian American community members by providing healing spaces and reducing isolation. Based on the successes of the initiative, supporters and organizers believe the “culturally centered” program could become a model for other cities around the state.

Ethnic Media Services hosted an hourlong Zoom press conference on the last day of May, which was AAPI Heritage Month, to allow HOPE program facilitators and allies the opportunity to provide details of the initiative to the media.

HOPE is a healing space for five distinct Asian American communities — Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, and Korean — created to make sense of their experiences with racism and recent surges in hate crimes. The psychology of the program is radical healing, a framework that has aided Black people in dealing with years of prejudice-caused trauma. HOPE is funded by a grant from the California Department of Social Services. 

More than 11,000 stories of hate have been reported to the California-based online resource, Stop AAPI Hate, since 2020.

AAPI Managing Director of Programs Michelle Sewrathan Wong called HOPE vital and said Asian Americans endured episodes of brutality on a scale not seen in generations.

“They were scapegoated by politicians for transmission of COVID-19, targeted for violent physical attacks, made to feel unsafe and unwelcome in their own communities and bullied and ridiculed by neighbors and strangers,” she stated.

HOPE opened healing spaces in Los Angeles County that offer six two-hour sessions conducted in groups by facilitators, who are staff from partner community organizations.

DePaul University Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Anne Saw said the radical healing framework promotes healing over coping.

“Healing may be lifelong because racism is ongoing, yet a program like ours reminds people of the cultural, community, family, and individual strengths they have to resist racism,” Saw said. We believe that healing in a group can be more powerful than an individual engaging in healing on their own because of the support they receive.”

This resource is supported in whole or in part by funding provided by the State of California, administered by the California State Library in partnership with the California Department of Social Services and the California Commission on Asian and Pacific Islander American Affairs as part of the Stop the Hate program. To report a hate incident or hate crime and get support, go to CA vs Hate.

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