Governor Gavin Newsom’s first budget has passed the legislature, and includes many – but not all – of the pieces of the May Budget Revise proposal. The record $215 billion budget expands the state’s Medicaid program – MediCal – to cover undocumented young adults, makes supplemental payments into the state’s public employee pension systems, spends $2 billion on tackling homelessness, and triples the size of California’s earned-income tax credit program putting more money into the hands of low-income families.

The budget also addresses many of the promises on early care and education (ECE) that the Governor made during last year’s election campaign. Starting in July 2021, families will receive eight weeks of paid family leave to care for new babies. ECE programs will be expanded with funding for 10,000 additional full-day preschool spaces and more than 11,000 additional childcare spaces. The budget also includes $245 million for childcare facilities, $239 million to build preschool facilities on California State University campuses, and $300 million to provide facilities so that schools can provide full-day kindergarten programs. The Governor’s proposals for $165 million in additional funds for developmental and adverse childhood experiences screenings also made it through the budget development process. Finally, the budget contains $25 million in funds for ECE strategic planning and data systems development and implementation. Overall, this budget represents a significant re-investment in California’s underfunded ECE programs.

While the budget bills have passed, the trailer bills – which contain details on implementation for the various programs and policies included in the budget – are still being ironed out. There are also a host of ECE bills, some of which include significant changes to the state’s ECE systems, working their way through the legislature before the fall deadline for passage. 2019 has been a landmark year for ECE in Sacramento and there is likely more to come. You can read additional reporting on the state budget and its implications for ECE at https://calmatters.org/articles/california-state-budget-gavin-newsom/ and https://edsource.org/2019/californias-budget-deal-takes-a-step-toward-universal-preschool/613726 and visit the California Department of Finance budget web site at http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/home.php