Alternate funding approach proposed, preserving childcare and education spending

California Senate Democrats are poised to reject $14 billion in budget cuts proposed by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month, choosing instead to craft a spending plan that looks for other ways to erase the state’s deficit and assumes additional money for schools and social services will come from the federal government by early September.

The proposal relies on an alternate approach to Newsom’s plea for additional funds from President Trump and Congress, said legislative sources who asked not to be identified because they weren’t authorized to discuss the document. It also proposes some different cuts than those in Newsom‘s plan, refusing some of the governor’s cuts to child care provider rates and affordable housing programs.

Newsom wants $14 billion in immediate spending cuts — including $8.1 billion less for public schools — that would be rescinded only if federal cash is sent to California. In contrast, Senate Democrats will insist the budget be scaled back only if sufficient federal assistance doesn’t arrive by Sept. 1. The California Senate adopted their budget structure on Thursday, May 28. The Senate plan lays out $13 billion in budget solutions if assistance from Washington doesn’t materialize. That includes additional use of cash reserves, internal borrowing and a more limited list of cuts. The plan also opts to delay, not cut, some $5.3 billion in school spending should the state not receive the assistance and would scale back Newsom’s proposed cuts to the University of California and California State University systems.

Lawmakers have had less time to consider the state budget than they traditionally would, with both houses suspending operations for seven weeks due to public health concerns. By law, they must send Newsom a balanced budget by June 15, though they can update or modify that budget in the summer, based on new economic data. Head Start California is actively advocating for Head Start children and families and has formally testified in the Senate and Assembly budget hearings.

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