It's time to do away with those caps, known as “maximum family grants.” Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) is trying to do that with SB 23, which is stuck in the Assembly Appropriations Committee. The sticking point isn't philosophical. It's that repealing the cap comes at a cost of about $200 million a year — money the Legislature specifically decided not to include in the recently passed budget.
We approve of the fiscal prudence exercised by the governor and Legislature this year. But everyone expects revenues to be higher than projected. If so, $200 million would be just a small drop in the state's funding bucket yet would do so much good for the state's neediest families. There's also the potential that providing higher monthly welfare checks would reduce other state expenses, such as Medi-Cal costs to pay for illness in children caused or exacerbated by poverty.