California Senate Proposes Significant Investments to Disability Services and More

By Jordan Lindsey, Executive Director, The Arc of California

Last Thursday Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senate Budget and Fiscal Committee Chair Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) announced the second phase of the Senate’s “Putting Wealth to Work” budget proposal, which would continue to prioritize a more equitable economy to benefit struggling and middle class families, including many Californians with disabilities.

This year the state has an unprecedented $68 billion in available General Fund resources and as a result the Senate’s plan  proposes bold investments in addition to an $8 billion relief tax rebate.

“Our state Senate ‘Putting Wealth to Work’ budget plan directs California’s strong revenues to achieve a more equitable economy and ensure that middle-class and struggling families are not left behind,” Senator Skinner said. “It builds on the record funding increases we achieved last year to expand childcare, fund our schools and colleges, and make health care more affordable. I am especially proud of the big investments our plan proposes to make, once again, on housing affordability and services to address homelessness, top priorities for Californians across the state.”

Most notable, the Senate plan includes a proposal supported by The Arc & UCP California Collaboration and sponsored by The Lanterman Coalition to hire more direct support professionals across the state by accelerating the implementation of the rate models for regional center services. Specific to the disability community, the plan includes:

  • Developmental Services Rates – Accelerate planned rate increases and require regular updates to rates for providers of developmental services and ensure increases are targeted to direct care workers.
  • Seniors and Adults with Disabilities Housing – Stabilize and preserve housing options for at-risk seniors and adults with disabilities.
  • Affordable Housing and Home Ownership Package – $2.7 billion for Affordable Housing and Home Ownership.
  • Advocates for Seniors and Persons with Disabilities – Provide adequate funding to support public administrators, public guardians, and public conservators.
  • Behavioral Health Workforce – $1 billion to expand investments in behavioral health workforce development, including scholarships, stipends, loan repayment, and pipeline programs.

The Senate’s budget plan will next be negotiated alongside the Governor’s May Revise budget and the Assembly’s budget priorities, resulting in a compromise budget sent to the Governor in June.

ACT NOW by contacting the Governor and your elected officials to show support for the Senate’s budget plan that addresses the DSP workforce crisis by accelerating funding to the disability system by one year, and include it in this year’s budget. It can’t wait.

#TheFutureIncludesUs

TAKE ACTION at TheFutureIncludesUs.org 

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