Progress On Child Poverty Must Happen This Year

May 19, 2015

SACRAMENTO – In response to the Governor’s May Revise, State Senator Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) released the following statement:

“Children should not be forced to live in poverty. The Governor’s May Revise budget provides no additional help to lift children and families out of deep poverty despite an unexpected increase in state revenue of $6.7 billion.”

“Although the Governor has proposed an important first step in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), substantially more investment is needed and available to help California’s poorest families participate in the state’s economic recovery.

“I call on my colleagues in the Legislature and Governor Brown to end the Maximum Family Grant Rule, which endangers the health and wellbeing of babies born into poverty by denying families the minimum CalWORKs benefit needed for infant care.”

“No child should have to suffer from hunger and no parent can be expected to raise a family in California on $9,537 a year – that defines the level of deep poverty from which studies show families rarely succeed in escaping without help. I have proposed a strategy for a 25% reduction in childhood poverty over the next 5 years through targeted investments. Using best practice models and working with experts in the field, we can commit to bringing an end in California to the poverty which afflicts the worst off families.

“Ironically, the Governor mentioned limitations to poverty alleviation absent an “English-style welfare state,” whereas testimony recently heard in the Select Committee on Women and Inequality that I chair attested to Britain’s success thus far in its commitment to cut child poverty in half by 2020. Clearly we cannot rely on 25 -year old estimates when we discuss strategies for reducing poverty in today’s California.”

“We must also support a robust child care system in California. I support the California Legislative Women’s Caucus call to put at least $600 million in early care and education to begin restoring the 97,000 child care slots lost during the Great Recession.  Balanced investment is needed in access for additional children and families to programs that provide full-time care,  that serve parents who work varied schedules, and that offer fair pay for child care providers.

“I maintain that the budget is not simply a math problem. Our hands are not tied. The Legislature has options to use a significant portion of state funds to meet human needs."