Opinion
Education Funding Opinion

One-Third of California’s Budget Comes From Federal Funds

By Contributing Blogger — January 09, 2017 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

California may be creating a bold counter-narrative to Donald Trump’s version of America. At the same time, it’s battening down the hatches to protect the ship of state from the expected high tide of misery from Washington. The state has hired former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric Holder to represent the state in what are expected to be attacks on its positions on immigration, healthcare, and climate change.

And in a state budget released Friday, Gov. Jerry Brown urged austerity and discipline during uncertain times ahead, even through voters approved retaining high income tax rates on wealthy individuals.

Even as bold statements about the environment, education, and immigration have flowed from state leaders in Sacramento, a sobering reminder comes in a recent fact sheet from the California Budget & Policy Center, reprinted here with its permission. /ctk


By Scott Graves

Federal Funds Comprise Over One-Third of California’s State Budget, Supporting a Broad Range of Public Services and Systems

Federal dollars support a wide array of public services and systems that touch the lives of all Californians from Social Security and health care to highway construction and public schools. A large share, but less than a majority, of this federal funding flows through California’s state budget. The current state budget includes nearly $96 billion in federal funds for 2016-17, the fiscal year that began last July 1. This is more than one-third (36 percent) of the total state budget, which also includes more than $170 billion in state funds for the current fiscal year.

More than 7 in 10 federal dollars that flow through California’s state budget—$69.3 billion in 2016-17—support health and human services (HHS) for children, seniors, and many other Californians. Most of these federal dollars, roughly $58 billion, go to Medi-Cal (California’s Medicaid program), which provides health care services to more than 13 million Californians with low incomes. The second-largest share of federal funding for HHS programs —$7.7 billion—goes to the state Department of Social Services. These funds support child welfare services, foster care, the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program, and other services that assist low-income and vulnerable Californians.

The remaining federal funds that flow through the state budget—an estimated $26.6 billion in 2016-17—support a broad range of public services and systems. This includes $7.6 billion for K-12 education; $6.6 billion for labor and workforce development programs, primarily for unemployment insurance benefits for jobless Californians; $5.0 billion for higher education (the California State University and the University of California); $4.9 billion for transportation, primarily to improve state and local transportation infrastructure; and $2.5 billion for additional public services and systems, including environmental protection, the state court system, and state corrections.

The outcome of the November 2016 national election portends major cuts to federal funding for key public services. For example, Republicans have vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which would include rolling back the recent expansion of Medicaid coverage to low-income parents and childless adults. This change alone would reduce annual federal funding for Medi-Cal by more than $15 billion. Other services are also at risk, including some thatare funded with federal dollars that flow directly to Californians outside of the state budget—such as federal food assistance provided through the state’s CalFresh program and federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) payments for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. Republicans are likely to succeed in scaling back federal support in a number of policy areas. If so, state policymakers will face difficult choices about how to fill the resulting funding gaps in order to prevent the erosion of public services and systems that promote economic security and opportunity for millions of Californians.

(PDF version here.)

Related Tags:

The opinions expressed in On California are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Funding Reported Essay Are We Asking Schools to Do Too Much?
Schools are increasingly being saddled with new responsibilities. At what point do we decide they are being overwhelmed?
5 min read
Conceptual Illustration
Pep Montserrat for Education Week
Education Funding Interactive Look Up How Much COVID Relief Aid Your School District is Getting
The federal government gave schools more than $190 billion to help them recover from the pandemic. But the money was not distributed evenly.
2 min read
Education Funding Explainer Everything You Need to Know About Schools and COVID Relief Funds
How much did your district get in pandemic emergency aid? When must the money be spent? Is there more on the way? EdWeek has the answers.
11 min read
090221 Stimulus Masks AP BS
Dezirae Espinoza wears a face mask while holding a tube of cleaning wipes as she waits to enter Garden Place Elementary School in Denver for the first day of in-class learning since the start of the pandemic.
David Zalubowski/AP
Education Funding Why Dems' $82 Billion Proposal for School Buildings Still Isn't Enough
Two new reports highlight the severe disrepair the nation's school infrastructure is in and the crushing district debt the lack of federal and state investment has caused.
4 min read
Founded 55 years ago, Foust Elementary received its latest update 12-25 years ago for their HVAC units. If the school receives funds from the Guilford County Schools bond allocation, they will expand classrooms from the back of the building.
Community members in Guilford, N.C. last week protested the lack of new funding to improve the district's crumbling school facilities.
Abby Gibbs/News & Record via AP