FRESNO – Assemblymember Dr. Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) recently responded to Governor Gavin Newsom’s $227.2 billion budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22:

“As we continue to battle the COVID-19 crisis and its calamitous impact on our communities, I find hope in Governor Newsom’s proposed budget. It includes recommendations to support Californians struggling because of the pandemic — many of them are essential workers, who are keeping our economy running and our health care system operating. The fiscal plan also includes $1.1 billion in immediate relief for small businesses that have been devastated by this emergency.

“I’m pleased to see the $2.4 billion ‘Golden State Stimulus’ plan that would include granting a refund payment to recipients of CalEITC, the California Earned Income Tax Credit program that I staunchly support and that last year was made available to eligible low-income families and individuals, including undocumented workers who previously were denied this program.

“I’m also pleased about the proposed $372 million investment to more quickly roll out COVID-19 vaccines to our people. This is a priority for me as well because it is key to reopening our economy safely and strongly while protecting Californians from this horrible virus. But this also relates to an area that is not in the governor’s budget and that I will continue to push for: Assembly Bill 4, Health for All, to ensure that undocumented adults in our state have access to health care. This pandemic has dramatically shown us the inequities in our health care system that trigger acute medical problems and ongoing health issues that impact the quality of life in our most vulnerable communities.

“We are in the midst of one of the most challenging times in our state’s history, and my legislative colleagues know the importance of this moment to help our fellow Californians through this crisis. To that end, there is much to consider as good starting points for negotiations in the Governor’s budget proposal, such as $353 million for workforce development programs that are so needed in our Central Valley region; investments to bolster support for wildfire response; $94.8 million for telehealth efforts to better connect with and serve patients; and $400 million for school-based mental health services.

“I believe this proposed budget is a good beginning, and we will tackle this important task with tenacity and thoughtfulness.”

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