January 10, 2023
Contact: Sumeet Bal, Director of Communications,, 917.647.1952

Media Statement from Public Advocates President and CEO Guillermo Mayer on Governor’s Proposed January Budget

“What’s my reaction to the governor’s proposed budget? It’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, it is unprecedented to have such a large budget deficit and not see deep cuts to social services and education like we experienced in prior decades. This is key when so many Californians are hurting. I also commend Governor Newsom for continuing to prioritize advancing equity in our education system. On the other hand, the housing crisis is enormous and requires much bolder state intervention.

While the governor’s proposed $1 billion investment to address homelessness and his emphasis on accountability for local housing decisions are steps in the right direction, greater state assistance is desperately needed to provide relief to both unhoused people and rent-burdened households at risk of homelessness. Many of our transit systems are also running out of operating funds and will be forced to slash service when vulnerable residents need it most unless the state provides assistance. We look forward to partnering with the governor and our legislative leaders on advancing more comprehensive solutions in the final budget.”

Media Statement on Governor’s Proposed January Budget for K-12 and Higher Ed

San Francisco—Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced his proposed $297 billion state budget for this year amidst a challenging $22.5 billion deficit. After a few years of disrupted learning that has most negatively impacted high-need students and students of color, it is important that the governor proposes to maintain the State’s commitment to education equity.Despite the economic decline, Public Advocates is pleased that the governor proposes no cuts in the budget to the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) or school transformation efforts and that, overall, LCFF is proposed to receive a $4.2 billion increase. “We applaud the governor for protecting investments to establish and expand racially just and relationship-centered community schools, create a diverse and well-prepared educator workforce, expand learning opportunities and recovery, and support youth behavioral health,” said Erin Apte, Senior Legislative Counsel.  We are pleased to see the governor’s proposal establish an ongoing $300 million “LCFF Equity Multiplier” for schools with the most concentrated poverty, which is intended to increase support for students who have been historically marginalized by our education system, especially Black and Brown students. We understand these funds would go to school districts and counties to spend on school sites with 90% or more student populations eligible for “free meals” (85% for high schools) to improve outcomes for low-performing student groups (red or orange on the CA School Dashboard), and attract and retain more fully prepared teachers. “This is an important investment that would double-down on improving opportunities and closing gaps at our state’s lowest-income schools. We’re particularly pleased to see the funds focus on improving teacher quality at the neediest school sites,” said John Affeldt, Managing Attorney and Director of Education Equity at Public Advocates. We also applaud the Governor’s proposal to update the State’s public school accountability system. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of the passage of the Local Control Funding Formula and the new multiple measures/continuous improvement accountability system alongside it. “Ten years in, the accountability system is due for an update to better ensure resources are allocated based on student needs and services are effective in closing opportunity and outcome gaps,” Affeldt said. “In seeking to be more intentional about closing equity gaps at the school level for Black and Brown students and Multilingual Learners, the Administration is starting the right conversation. We look forward to working with the Administration and the Legislature to fulfill the equity promises of LCFF.”Higher Education During a year with a large deficit, we are pleased that the governor continued his commitment to the multi-year compacts with UC and CSU, and the multi-year roadmap with the California Community Colleges. This commitment is necessary to ensure we move toward the 70% attainment goal set by these agreements. California Community Colleges “Retention of community college students continues to trouble the segment,” said Sbeydeh Viveros-Walton, Director of Higher Education. “This budget includes an additional $200 million to address retention and recruitment. We urge the Administration and the Community Colleges to partner with student-led and community organizations to climb out of the 16% enrollment drop and begin to see gains in matriculation, persistence and completion.”  We also look forward to working with the Administration and the Community Colleges to ensure that any proposed “ flexibility” in reporting requirements–should a college district make progress towards the roadmap goals–is balanced with transparency and accountability metrics to ensure equitable outcomes for students .  Student Housing Housing is one of the major costs of attending college and can serve as a significant barrier to completion. With 1 out of 5 community college students reporting housing insecurity, timely investment in student housing is more critical than ever. “Despite proposed delays in funding, we are pleased that the Governor is maintaining his commitment toward building affordable student housing for California’s neediest students,” said Viveros-Walton. Despite the delay of $250 million in this year’s commitment towards the Higher Education Student Housing Grant Program (HESHGP), we are thankful that the project will see $500 million in funding this year.The additional funding delays in the California Affordable Student Housing Revolving Loan Program, while not optimal, do provide an opportunity for students, segments leaders and community stakeholders to ensure that housing projects funded through this program will in fact be affordable for students who need it the most. We will be working with student stakeholders in the coming months to create a better definition of “affordability” that effectively identifies and benefits low-income students who need housing near their campus.

Media Statement on Governor’s Proposed January Budget on Housing and Transit

San Francisco—Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed $297 bIllion state budget fails to include critical investments in housing and public transportation which are vital to Californians on the verge of displacement and homelessness, and foundational to the state’s economy and climate goals. Despite projections of a $25 billion budget deficit, the state has enormous resources at its disposal to invest in addressing immediate crises and securing our future. Invest in Renters“Our neighbors—workers, seniors, and children—are fighting against the skyrocketing cost of housing. As a result, our state’s population is shrinking while the number of those experiencing homelessness explodes,” said Managing Attorney Sam Tepperman-Gelfant. “We are disappointed that the governor’s housing budget does not address the growing displacement crisis or provide sufficient investments that address the problems our struggling neighbors need. California’s ongoing economic vitality—and moral responsibility—require the state making sure that everyone has a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home.” The COVID pandemic laid bare the enduring systemic failures in our housing system, public services, and social safety net. Nearly half of Californians are renters, and millions of renters have been prevented from access to affordable homes both before, during, and after the height of COVID. Landlords have been raising rents through the roof in the past year–one of the primary drivers of inflation. While Governor Newsom did invest an enormous $1 billion dollars to address homelessness, and has increased local accountability, our current situation calls for bolder initiatives. Our leadership must take more meaningful steps to address the needs of renters and keep more families from being forced into homelessness—pulling back on housing investments and tenant protections now would be catastrophic. We cannot “streamline” our way out of this affordable housing crisis—the state must make the investments and policy changes that will directly help struggling Californians today.  Public Transit on a Fiscal CliffPublic transit has always been essential to those who depend on it to get to work, school and the doctor’s office—and increasing public transit service and usage is the cornerstone of the state’s response to climate change. Even at the height of COVID, essential workers relied on transit to get to frontline jobs. Making sure that our public transit system fully recovers and grows is essential to the state’s long-term economic vitality. Yet today, just as more workers, students, and seniors are returning to public transit, federal emergency operating funds are running out. State leaders must allocate transit operating funding to ensure this critical public service that supports Californians and climate justice does not disappear. Without this important state investment, local agencies will slash critical bus and transit service. “Our public transit service is failing to meet the needs of poor and working class residents and failing to reduce carbon emissions,” said Richard Marcantonio, Managing Attorney. “Increased funding for transit operations is central to achieving our climate, equity and economic goals.”We Call on the Governor to:

  • Fully fund the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP). Tens of thousands of qualified families across the state are still waiting for promised financial assistance to cover rent accrued as a result of the pandemic.

  • Fully fund the Community Anti-displacement and Preservation Program (CAPP). The root cause of unaffordable rents is real estate speculation and profiteering—the only solution is shielding our homes from the speculative market. The Community Anti-displacement and Preservation Program (CAPP) would provide $500 million to purchase existing housing and preserve it as permanently-affordable housing California needs to end the crisis of ever-rising rents and homelessness.

  • Fund the operating needs of public transportation agencies as they run out of federal COVID operating funds.

We’re ready to partner with the governor to ensure that the state makes the investments in our housing and transportation systems that California needs for immediate stability and long term prosperity. In this challenging economic moment, we urge the governor to remain firm and committed to a California for all in his post-pandemic vision for our state.


Public Advocates Inc. is a nonprofit law firm and advocacy organization that challenges the systemic causes of poverty and racial discrimination by strengthening community voices in public policy and achieving tangible legal victories advancing education, housing, transportation equity, and climate justice.

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