January 10, 2023

Governor Releases 2023/24 Budget Proposal

Governor Releases January Budget

Wait and see. That was the message of the day as Governor Newsom negotiated the challenges of a likely $22.5 billion shortfall in his January budget. In this morning’s presentation, he emphasized budget reductions that do their best to not harm Californians, while not touching our ample reserves until there is clarity for the May Revise. As for child care, much like last year, he gave little mention of it in his presentation, and he leaned heavily into previous budget allocations in the budget summary. While he touted the $2 billion child care expansion over the last couple of years as integral to our state’s economic and workforce development, there is no acknowledgment of the struggles child care programs have experienced in hiring staff, or the very likely decline of child care programs in our state because supplemental financial supports have ended. The interrelationship should be clear, if you don’t have a stable child care workforce, families won’t have access to adequate care.

Last year's budget continued to make subsidy payments to child care providers based on children enrolled instead of attendance, and eliminated family fees through June 30, 2023. The proposed 2023-24 budget allows those policies to expire because the COVID funding expires. This means families will struggle further to afford child care, and providers will struggle as they risk not receiving their full pay when families can’t afford their fees. The good news is there are no cuts proposed for child care, but there are implementation delays – the hard news is that there is no new money proposed for our system. Here are some highlights pulled from budget documents:

  • $10.0 million General Fund in FY 2023-24 and annually thereafter for the continued support of R&R programs.
  • 8.13% COLA from General Fund for child care development programs.
  • To accommodate the time necessary to utilize recent slot expansions, the Budget assumes that 20,000 new slots that would have been funded in 2023-24 will instead be funded in 2024-25. This is not a reduction in slots, but a delay or rollover of promised slots that have not yet been utilized.
  • A Joint Labor Management Committee (JLMC) consisting of the State and the Child Care Providers United Union – California presented a single rate reimbursement structure to the Department of Finance on November 14, 2022. The JLMC’s presentation was informed by those of a stakeholder workgroup convened by the Department of Social Services, in consultation with the California Department of Education, in the summer and fall of 2022. The presented approach toward a future single rate structure consists of:
    • An alternative methodology that considers a cost estimation model,
    • Base rates,
    • Incentives/enhancement rate-setting metrics, and
    • An evaluation of the rate structure. The state will rely on the presented approach as it continues to develop a single rate structure.
  • Transitional Kindergarten: Building upon previous year investments, the Budget includes $690 million to implement the second year of transitional kindergarten expansion, which will increase access to the program to all children turning five years old between September 2 and April 2 (approximately 46,000 children) and $165 million to support the addition of one additional certificated or classified staff person in transitional kindergarten classrooms serving these students. Full implementation of universal transitional kindergarten is expected in 2025-26.
  • State Preschool: The Budget includes $64.5 million Proposition 98 General Fund and $51.8 million General Fund to continue a multi-year plan to ramp up the inclusivity adjustments for the State Preschool Program.
  • The Budget delays the 2023-24 planned $550 million Full Day Kindergarten Facilities Grant Program investment to 2024-25. This program is available to CSPP, TK and Kindergarten programs.
  • CalWORKs Grant Increase—The Budget projects a 2.9-percent increase to CalWORKs Maximum Aid Payment levels, with an estimated cost of $87 million in 2023-24.

We should feel a sense of relief and appreciation that there are no catastrophic cuts in this budget. We do need to remain diligent to ensure the same remains true in May. California’s families, children, and child care providers cannot bear the brunt of our budget shortfalls. We hope you’ll join us in fighting to ensure the brightest future possible for our youngest children.