Lawmakers unveil financial priorities to rebuild CA’s post-pandemic economy


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – California State Senators Wednesday unveiled their financial priorities to help build the state’s post-pandemic economy.

It includes expanding access to healthcare for undocumented immigrants and attempts to cancel student debt, among many other big-ticket efforts.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make transformative changes for California,” State Senate Pro Tem Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, said. 

With higher than forecasted revenues and $26-billion in stimulus money from the federal government, some state Democrats have big financial hopes in their budget priorities laid out Wednesday.

Among the proposals is a $100 million effort to immediately expand state health insurance to all Californians 65 and up regardless of immigration status, and eventually extend it to all regardless of status with a phased-in approach.

The priority list also includes funding to expand access to early childhood care and education… money for first-time home buyers and a five-year, $20 billion plan to tackle homelessness with more permanent housing programs.

“Our goal is a more equitable economy that provides pathways out of poverty and expanded access to wealth so we can restore our middle class and dramatically reduce homelessness,” State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Oakland, said.

The lawmakers also want to minimize student debt by expanding middle-class access to scholarships, the group is also urging the Biden administration to cancel student debt up to $50,000 per student.

“This will eliminate debt for three million Californians and significantly reduce debt for almost one million more,” State Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, said. 

Democrats say on top of this, they want to make a significant investment in improving state systems for agencies like the EDD and DMV, that have been plagued by persistent technology problems.

Democratic senators did not provide a total price tag on the long list of priorities. Republicans as of Wednesday were still reviewing the plan.

“There are a lot of different needs, a lot of issues we need to address. What I am not for is spending money indiscriminately to make a legislator to feel good, it has to have an effect, has to have some real meaning to the average Californian. That’s what I want to see. Press conferences are great, but taxpayers– we want to see action,” State Sen. Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, said.

Details of the plan are still being worked out as lawmakers await California’s updated economic forecast in May — That’s also when the governor is expected to lay out his own updated priority plan.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker

Trending Stories

Latest News

More News