California progressives forced to play defense as state faces huge budget deficits – Orange County Register

A few years ago, California’s left-wing interest groups—those seeking a broader range of social and medical services to benefit workers and the state’s large population of low-income residents—appeared to be doing a breakthrough after decades of frustration.

As Gov. Gavin Newsom boasted of a nearly $100 billion budget surplus, progressive coalitions gained a foothold on some long-sought priorities, such as health coverage for undocumented immigrants, income supports for working poor and more extensive care and education for preschool children.

This then was, what is now.

The state now faces a monumental budget deficit, in part because it committed part of a supposed surplus that never materialized. While Newsom has so far pegged the deficit at $38 billion, state revenue remains below projections and the Legislature’s budget analyst Gabe Petek says it could top $70 billion. of dollars.

Additionally, Newsom and Petek’s budget department warn that annual deficits on the order of $30 billion are likely for several years to come.

The harsh budgetary reality risks not only dooming the expansion of programmatic gains championed by those on the left, but also jeopardizing their very existence just as the additional benefits begin to manifest.

In short, this is a critical time for progressive activists in California.

The state’s dramatically changed financial situation is reflected in a legislative agenda recently released by Building the California Dream Alliance, a coalition of dozens of progressive organizations. If the state benefits from the huge budget surpluses that Newsom falsely proclaimed two years ago, the coalition would propose new or expanded programs.

Instead, most of the 28 items on his new agenda would cost nothing to the state budget, but would instead affect policies for the private economy, schools, courts and medical care.

One example: Senate Bill 1446 would make it harder for retailers to downsize by installing self-checkout systems.

Meanwhile, another progressive organization, the California Budget and Policy Center, hosted a webinar Tuesday to advocate for higher taxes to avoid cuts to social and medical services this year and subsequent years when Additional deficits are expected.

The organization says it wants “a California for All where everyone has access to economic opportunity, housing, health care and other basic needs,” adding that “policymakers can achieve this vision by promoting fairer taxation.” to avoid cuts when there is a budget.” deficit like today and build a California that is truly fair and equitable for all.

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