PHI Statement on CA Governor Newsom’s 2022-23 Budget Proposal
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Statement from Matthew Marsom, Senior Vice President, Programs and Public Policy
“The Public Health Institute welcomes Governor Newsom’s budget investments today in public health, which included a much-needed (and still not enough) $300 million for public health infrastructure, including $200 million to shore up local health jurisdictions, along with other dedicated funding for COVID-19 and workforce development. We look forward to learning more about the proposal to direct 25% of non-profit hospital community benefit dollars to community-based organizations to address social determinants of health. For decades, PHI has provided leadership on community benefit policy, regulation and best practices, through state, hospital and community partnerships in California and nationally, and knows the value to health and equity these investments can bring.
“We are deeply disappointed that the Governor’s proposed 2022 budget left out dedicated funding for a core piece of our state’s public health and equity infrastructure: community-based organizations. While there are efforts to advance equity, the budget summary released today also failed to mention racial justice at all.
“When we fund communities directly, we invest in the power, success and justice that comes from communities identifying and driving solutions to the issues that matter most to them. When we don’t, communities lose. Health loses. Racial justice loses.
“Last summer, the state legislature promised $100 million of a $300 million ongoing public health funding stream would go directly to CBOs, beginning this year. That would have been just 1/3 of one percent of the total $31 billion surplus. From COVID-19 now, to housing, food security and community safety moving forward, the $100m would have supported communities to identify and address the public health and racial justice and equity issues that mattered most in their neighborhoods.
“The State of California has always depended on CBOs to build health, equity and justice. As a Governor’s office press release stated in December, the work of community-based organizations has ‘contributed to California’s standing, consistently, throughout this year as having among the lowest COVID-19 transmission rates in the country.’
“After all, they are the experts. From local non-profits to churches, community centers to afterschool programs, CBOs are quite simply the backbone, the heart and the moral compass of public health work. As they have proven for decades—and as has never been more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic—CBOs have the trust, the connections, the flexibility and the knowledge to reach their neighbors with the health resources and information they need, in the language they know. They also work regionally and collaboratively, and in partnership with local health jurisdictions and healthcare, to build power and strength among our most systemically excluded communities.
“The pandemic has shown us that we need to trust in—and invest in—the expertise and knowledge of communities. But communities are once again being asked to answer to government and hospitals for their funding and priorities, instead of leading with dedicated funding of their own.
“It shouldn’t be an either/or. We are all public health; we all have a role to play; and we work best, and for the most people, when all of public health is fully funded and working together. We need continued investments in collaborative efforts across all sectors, including local health jurisdictions, hospitals and CBOs. And we need dedicated funding for each of those sectors, so they can lead where they are the experts. In another year of historic budget surplus, in the midst of the biggest transmission surge yet of the pandemic, CBOs can’t be left out again.”
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The Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund Co-Sponsors (listed below) released the following statement in response to Governor Newsom’s budget proposal:
Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund Co-Sponsors Urge Ongoing Funding Directly to Community-Based Organizations, Clinics, and Tribal Organizations
“With yet another historic surplus, the Health Equity and Racial Justice Fund Co-Sponsors are extremely disappointed that our budget request was once again excluded from the Governor’s proposed budget. We cannot continue to delay much-needed, ongoing funding directly to community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations. These organizations play a distinctive role in identifying local equity and justice issues and developing effective local solutions to address them.
“Last year, Californians were promised at least $300 million for public health after the legislature’s failed attempt to push Governor Newsom to agree to fund public health infrastructure and community-based organizations directly for health equity and racial justice projects. Today, we expected no less than $100 million to flow to our historic, bold, and innovative fund. Resources provided directly to community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations, are necessary given that community-based organizations have proven to be a critical and vital component of our state’s public health system needed to appropriately and adequately support California’s diverse populations.
“We greatly appreciate recently announced funding to bolster our public health infrastructure and one-time funding to increase our testing, vaccination, outreach, and education efforts, these fall far short of what is needed to support communities of color, low-income communities, LGBTQ+ people, and other historically excluded people who experience worse health outcomes and shorter life spans.
“Proposals in the budget continue to be top-down, with the Administration prescribing both the issues and the solutions. That approach has not been successful in eliminating health disparities. Community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations have their own impactful, self-determined, and community-specific assets and innovative programs that deserve recognition and funding. They are at the forefront of addressing the health and racial disparities on the ground. State data does not always reflect local data and specific local needs, which community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations are directly tied into and knowledgeable about.
“We are all essential to public health. Community-based organizations, clinics, and tribal organizations are more than testing and vaccination sites, they are food distributors, racial justice innovators, restorative justice promoters, climate justice incubators, and more. They are the frontline voices at city, county, and state meetings, advocating for equitable processes, funding, and accountability to these reforms for racial justice and health equity within our systems and in our communities.
“We look forward to working with the Administration and legislature – which voted overwhelmingly to support the Fund in June of last year, to make this budget request to advance health equity and racial justice for all Californians a reality in this year’s budget.”
Full list of co-sponsors:
Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy, and Leadership
Black Women for Wellness
California Black Women’s Health Project
California Black Health Network
California Pan-Ethnic Health Network
Latinas for Reproductive Justice
Latino Coalition for a Healthy California
Public Health Advocates
Public Health Institute
Roots of Change
Roots Community Health Center