SACRAMENTO – Today, Assemblymember Robert Rivas (D-Hollister), Chair of the Assembly Agriculture Committee and Vice-Chair of the California Latino Legislative Caucus, released the following statement on Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2021-22 State Budget proposal:
“Thank you, Governor, for again prioritizing our State’s most vulnerable communities and critical needs through this proposed budget. It is a major step in the right direction for California, as it addresses the COVID-19 pandemic and helps to ensure a robust economic recovery. It also makes smart investments in agriculture, education, infrastructure, homelessness, and housing.
“First off, I applaud the Governor for his commitment to our farmers and to sustainable agriculture. After conducting a statewide ag tour over the fall, I can tell you that our farmers, ranchers, and farmworkers are struggling, and I believe this budget lays the framework to help alleviate some of those struggles. Gov. Newsom has specifically set aside $385 million for sustainable agriculture. This provides farms and ranches with the ability to help California Agriculture lead the way in combating climate change, and it prioritizes sustainable groundwater management, which will greatly benefit our environment. Importantly, it proposes $6.7 million as direct technical assistance to small and mid-sized farms, which will help our ag industry remain diverse, strong, and resilient during this challenging period.
“This budget also takes into consideration the health and economic toll of COVID-19 on Latino communities in our state. The Golden State Stimulus will ensure that every Californian who qualifies for CALEITC, regardless of their immigration status, receives $600 in aid to help in economic recovery. The budget also accounts for the cultural diversity of Latinos in California. It allocates over $60 million to Listos CA to lead public engagement and community outreach to Spanish-speaking communities and invests in health equity resources for Latino communities through Medi-Cal and Covered California. As Latinos continue to contract and die of COVID-19 at disproportionately high rates, these investments will concentrate much-needed resources for the state’s racial-ethnic plurality, aiding in recovery from COVID-19.
“I also commend the Governor for including nearly $100 million in funds for telehealth during this pandemic, which will maintain and expand rules established during COVID-19. This was the goal of my proposed bill, AB 2164, from 2020, so I am grateful that the Administration will be implementing this policy at a time when patients need it the most.
“On a personal note, I want to thank the Governor for bringing back the Golden State Teacher Grant, which I championed in 2019. As the son of an elementary school teacher, I know how dedicated and committed teachers are to their students. They need our help and our investment in educational staff more than ever, and I believe this grant will help tackle the teacher shortage our state has been experiencing well before the pandemic.
“While this is only the first step in crafting the budget, the Governor’s proposal is a promising blueprint for our economic recovery. There is still much work ahead of us, and I look forward to working with the Administration to solidify the best budget for every Californian.”
See the 2021-22 State Budget plan from the Governor’s Office here.