Senator Portantino’s Statement on Budget Agreement
For Immediate Release: June 27, 2023
Contact: Lerna Shirinian, (818) 409-0400
Senator Portantino’s Statement on Budget Agreement
Sacramento, CA - Senator Anthony J. Portantino (D – Burbank) released the following statement on the final agreement of the 2023-24 State Budget:
The final budget agreement prioritizes the needs and values of Californians, reflects our goals of passing a responsible budget, and protects and builds on the progress we have made in recent years. We are continuing on our path of fiscal responsibility by building our reserves to $37.8 billion – the highest in history – to help protect future budgets during times of economic uncertainty. I am proud that we are doing this with no ongoing cuts to core programs, as well as no new tax increases on Californians. I appreciate the hard work and tireless efforts of Governor Newsom for proposing a solid budget as a starting point and helping us achieve a strong fiscal plan.
As a proud champion of California’s public education system, I am pleased that we were able to approve a budget that provides schools and community colleges with a $2.1B increase in funding. The agreement improves the higher education budget by limiting delays to infrastructure and student housing projects by shifting costs to bonds and expanding financial aid programs to provide debt-free college to foster youth, as well as maintaining Middle Class Scholarship funding for the 2024-25 academic year, and making ongoing increases to student support programs.
The budget also includes much needed investments in naloxone and opioid overdose prevention. The opioid crisis is tragic and we must do more to combat its impact on our children – and this includes making naloxone readily available for high-risk age groups. SB 234, which I authored this year, will do just that.
Commercial Dishwasher Grant Program
I am particularly excited and encouraged that we approved $15 million for the commercial dishwasher grant program for schools to address single-use waste. Last year, I authored Senate Bill 1255, a bill that was sponsored by the Glendale Environmental Coalition and would have created this grant program for schools. This funding will help schools with the upfront costs associated with the purchase and installation of equipment that has acted as a barrier to addressing this issue.
"We are sincerely thankful to Senator Portantino, the Legislature and Governor Newsom for providing funding for K-12 waste reduction in this year’s budget. Having the money to install industrial dishwashers will provide the opportunity for hundreds of schools in our state to move to back to reusable foodware, which will not only prevent an enormous amount of single-use waste and related costs, but will also normalize reuse and conservation for tens of thousands of students in California. This transition will help pull us back from the “use it once and toss it” mentality that has dominated school cafeterias since the 80’s. It’s inspiring and has the potential to be extremely impactful,” stated Monica Campagna of the Glendale Environmental Coalition & Karen Hare Neilsson with GREEN LUNCHROOM.
California Film & Tax Credit Program
I am grateful that the Film and Television Tax Credit Program will be extended for five years beginning in 2025-26. This has long been a priority of mine and an important program for many constituents in the 25th State Senate District. The economic benefits created by keeping film production in California in the Los Angeles region and the state as a whole are significant. The program also includes accountability provisions so that our investment in creating jobs is reflective of California’s diverse population.
I was proud to have authored SB 485 to extend the Film and Television Tax Credit Program until 2030, which based on negotiations with the Governor and his team was included in the budget bill we passed today. I appreciate the Governor’s commitment to this issue and thank him for collaborating with me, labor partners and our studios on the extension.
Risk of Dyslexia Screening
I am extremely grateful that dyslexia risk screening is included in the final budget agreement. As someone who is dyslexic, I think it’s critical that we are addressing and prioritizing dyslexia risk screening and early literacy to ensure that our children thrive and succeed. With this inclusion, we can provide the necessary support for educators to help students improve learning outcomes and close academic achievement gaps. I extend deep appreciation to the leaders of Decoding Dyslexia CA, EdVoice and the California PTA for their tireless advocacy and firsthand accounts on the importance of early identification and intervention through screening. The success today is due to laudable collaboration, the passion of education experts, activists, professional athletes, parents, and a caring Governor who also prioritized this important change to our education system.
“Today’s approval by the legislature to require K-2 universal screening is a huge milestone for our state in addressing our reading crisis. Early identification and evidence-based intervention can significantly improve the literacy trajectory for our kids. We are grateful to the Governor, our state legislators, and, especially Senator Portantino, for making this possible,” Lori DePole, Co-State Director of Decoding Dyslexia CA.
"We are grateful for the leadership demonstrated by Governor Newsom and Senator Portantino on the critical issue of literacy. Children from low-income communities are more likely to slip through the cracks in their early literacy development, and universal screening for reading difficulties in K-2 should prove especially valuable for these students. By incorporating this effort to improve literacy rates and expand opportunity in the final budget agreement, our state is making clear that literacy is a top priority, and that is a big step forward for all California's kids,” stated Marshall Tuck, CEO of EdVoice.