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Jun 28 2019 | 

Author: Teresa | 

Today, Governor Newsom signed California’s FY19-20 budget into law. The budget includes unprecedented steps toward reducing hunger, celebrated by food banks across the state. Yet the budget falls short of fully supporting the 4.3M Californians that face hunger everyday -- 25% of whom earn too much to qualify for food assistance like CalFresh, and turn to food banks for groceries.

CAFB Director of Government Affairs Andrew Cheyne offered nuanced analysis of the budgetary advancements and disappointments: “We applaud Governor Newsom’s substantial and landmark investments in supporting our state’s food banks and the hungry Californians that rely on them to eat. However, as disasters and the high cost of living continue to establish hunger as the new normal, these investments fall short of what is truly needed to nourish all Californians."

We applaud these unprecedented investments:

  • $8M for CalFood funds (~32-40M meals): enabling California food banks to purchase California grown foods -- particularly fresh produce and proteins that are expensive yet vital to a healthy California 
  • Increasing storage & transportation rate to 15%: to better account for refrigerated trucking and cold storage costs necessary to keep food fresh and food safe 
  • $20M for food bank capacity grants: to improve the ability of food banks to meet community need – trucks, forklifts, freezers, and other one-time investments that build infrastructure 
  • $25M for CalRecycle grants: to help convert waste to edible food (though short of the $100M requested and necessary for this work)
  • CalWORKs Asset Test: repeals asset test for all families unless they have more than $10,000 in assets, allowing more hungry families to become eligible for food assistance
  • CalWORKs Earned Income Disregard: increases the earned income disregard from $225 a month to $500 a month, helping to reduce poverty and allowing families to retain services longer

 

We are deeply disappointed by other priorities this budget did not include, and call on the Governor and Legislature to:

  • Invest CalFood by $16.5 million, to a total of $24.5 million: maximize the ability of food banks to fight hunger in their communities with California grown foods;
  • Invest in the State Supplemental Payment: reverse cuts from the Great Recession that keep 1.2M seniors and people with disabilities at or below the federal poverty level, and facing inhumane choices between food and other basic needs;
  • Include ITIN filers from CalEITC: those who contribute to our state should not excluded from most public food assistance programs and forced to rely on food banks to eat.

 

CAFB is committed to continuously working alongside other anti-hunger and anti-poverty organizations to advance the mission of a well-nourished California.