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Budget action on “Lunch at the Library” & Governor’s May Budget Revision
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May 15, 2018


FROM: Mike Dillon and Christina DiCaro, CLA Lobbyists

RE: News From the Capitol


Late last week, the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance heard a series of so-called “member requests” during their weekly hearing on the Governor’s 2018-19 State Budget.  This special hearing allowed Senators to come before the subcommittee and make compelling arguments for funding in various programmatic areas. CLA is pleased to report that at last week’s hearing, the Senate Budget Committee Chair Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) made a formal request for $1 million in ongoing funds to expand the current “Lunch at the Library” program.  Senator Mitchell asked State Librarian, Greg Lucas to present the following proposal, which was included in the Senate Subcommittee’s backgrounder:

“Budget Request:  Appropriate $1 million ongoing to expand the number of libraries participating in the federal United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) summer nutrition program.  This program enables school districts and other eligible community-based organizations to alleviate the summer nutrition gap by offering free, healthy meals to children and youth in low-income neighborhoods.  The Lunch at the Library program provides funds for libraries to deliver learning and enrichment programs along with the USDA meal service; training and support for library staff; project evaluation to ensure that the funds are used responsibly and have impact; teen internship opportunities that help teens develop workforce readiness and social emotional skills as they volunteer at Lunch sites; pop up libraries at community-based meal sites with no programming; targeted outreach to bring on board under-resourced libraries with a community need for a meal program; and will increase the number of meals served in California which improves California’s federal USDA reimbursement opportunities.  There are currently 160 Lunch at the Library sites, this proposal would add up to 30 additional sites.”

The “Member Request Days” have not been in effect since the late 1990’s at the State Capitol, and were disbanded entirely during the years of staggering Recession-era cuts.  However, in light of an uptick in projected state revenues this year, Senators or their designated representative, are being afforded the opportunity to appear before the Senate Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance and make their best case for funding for programs such as grants for clean drinking water in schools, to repairing school swimming pools that are out of ADA compliance, to funding for the University of California for a Cancer and Aging program.  Presenters were given a maximum of two minutes to present their item, and then the committee noted that each request would be considered on their merits after the Governor released his May Revision of the Budget (see article below).

The CLA Legislative Committee met on Friday, May 11 and voted to formally support Senator Mitchell’s request via a letter to the Senator.  By the end of this week, we should know if the Senate plans to move forward with her request. It is not known at this time whether a comparable action will be taken on the Assembly side.  CLA wants to thank Senator Mitchell for her leadership in this area.


On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown revealed his “May Revision” of the State Budget, which reflects the latest revenue projections, based on April tax receipts, federal dynamics, Capital gains, and other factors.  At a press conference at the Capitol, the Governor presented what will be his final May Revision as Governor, as he will be termed out of office at the end of 2018. Once again, the Governor presented a pragmatic and cautious budgetary approach, despite the fact that there is an approximate $8.8 billion surplus this year.  In fact, the Governor suggests that the bulk of the surplus be placed in reserves, in order to guard against a future Recession. In the May Revision document released on Friday, it notes: “The May Revision assumes the continued expansion of the economy and a balanced budget through the forecast period. But economic expansions don’t last forever.  In the modern era, the average expansion has lasted about five years. By the end of the 2018-19 fiscal year…the U.S. will have matched the longest recovery in modern history. A moderate recession will drop state revenues by over $20 billion annually for several years.”

With regard to the State Library, the Governor does make some modest adjustments.  These appropriations are in addition to the $9.5 Budget million package that CLA, the State Library, and the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC), were able to negotiate with the Department of Finance during October and November of 2017.   Those items are still alive and will be scheduled for a formal vote in the Budget Subcommittees on Education Finance in the coming days. The new appropriations that the Governor is proposing for the State Library in his May Revision are:

  • “Collection Protection Activities:  An increase of $663,000 General Fund to purchase emergency supplies, restore damaged books, and procure a vault to further protect the library’s collection.

  • California Newspaper Project:  An increase of $430,000 General Fund ongoing to support the California Newspaper Project, located at UC Riverside.

  • Digital Preservation Activities:  An increase of $195,000 General Fund ongoing to preserve information on state websites four times each year and records collected by the State Archivist.”  

The Constitution requires the Legislature to pass the 2018-19 State Budget and send it to the Governor for signature by June 15, 2018.  We will continue to keep CLA members posted regarding this year’s Budget developments at the State Capitol.