When should we participate in the California Budget Process?

California spends over 250 billion dollars a year.  Less than 4 billion of that is spent on early care and education, which provides subsidized care for only about 435,000 children in California through many programs (including CalWORKs, Title 5, Alternative Payment, State Preschool, Transitional Kindergarten, and more).  If we want more funding so more children can receive care and so our teachers can be paid more, then we need to be part of the budget process.

Remember each new budget starts in July, so the process starts over again every July and continues through the next June.

You, as a California citizen, have input into the budget process.

July-December: Communicate with the Governor and your legislators about the issues that are important to you.  They may be less busy during this time, so try to meet with them, whether in Sacramento, in their home district office, or by inviting them to come visit your ECE center.

January & February: The budget revision process starts up again.  Learn about how the Governor’s proposed budget might affect the issues that are important to you.  Send letters of support or opposition to the Assembly and Senate Budget Subcommittees about specific concerns you have.  Communicate with your legislators through email, phone, and meetings.

March & April: Attend and give public comment at the Budget Subcommittee meetings, also called hearings, about the issues that are important to you.  Unfortunately the meetings aren’t always scheduled very far in advance, but you can find the schedule and agendas online at… http://abgt.assembly.ca.gov/hearings and http://senate.ca.gov/senate-oversight-hearings

If you can’t make it in person to Sacramento for the hearings, you can still participate by continuing to communicate with the legislators in the Subcommittees and the Governor’s staff.  Write letters to them, call their offices, send them emails, and set up meetings when they’re back at their home district offices.  Tell your personal story about what concerns you.

After May Revise: Hopefully the May Revision of the budget addresses some of your concerns, but if not, continue to let your legislators and the Governor’s staff know.  The budget is for all Californians, and we need to make sure our voices are heard.