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    Two Visions of America by Don Jans

    A State Budget That Invests In Our Community

    By Senator Henry Stern

    27th Senate District 
    (D-Los Angeles)

    There is nothing we can do to make up for what everyone in this state has lost over the past 16 months during this terrible pandemic. However what we, as a state government, can do is take the unexpected multi-billion dollar budget surplus we have and use it to change and improve people’s lives. I strongly believe this year’s state budget achieves that goal.
    Some of the things we’ve been able to bring home to directly address issues and challenges facing the 27th Senate District include:

    Improving wildlife connectivity throughout the state, specifically in the Santa Monica Mountains. The budget allocates $65 million to the Wildlife Conservation Board to provide grants to build wildlife corridors, which will help the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing break ground this fall. 

    The above picture is a rendering of the proposed wildlife/mountain lion bridge spanning the 101 Freeway in Agoura Hills (Credit: National Wildlife Federation/Living Habitats).


    • Securing $8 million to help the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy acquire the final piece of the Triangle Ranch property, 150 acres of pristine open space. Triangle Ranch has long been identified as a crucial linkage for habitat preservation, watershed protection, and wildlife movement in the area.  Allowing the Conservancy to acquire this final piece of the puzzle will benefit the public for many generations.

    • Awarding $3 million to revitalize the Canoga Park Arts District, including the the Madrid and Taxco Theaters. This money will establish a performing and youth development arts initiative to focus on creating bilingual family-oriented arts, education, and engagement programs for underserved communities in the West Valley.

    • Helping us live in safe neighborhoods where we feel comfortable walking, biking, and using public transportation whenever we can. To work towards this goal, this year’s budget includes $2.3 million to take down a dilapidated pedestrian overcrossing in Encino and provide people better access over the 101 freeway by expanding the pedestrian walkway along Louise Avenue.
    • Allocating $250,000 to the Warner Center Transportation Technology Innovation Zone to help make the West Valley the premier destination for businesses looking for a place to design critical transportation solutions.  Looking more regionally at transportation issues, the budget also has $1 billion for the L.A. County Transportation Authority to complete critical transit projects before 2028 Olympics

    Statewide Budget Wins

    Beyond the tremendous budget wins that will serve our community directly, the recently enacted $262.6 billion state budget will infuse much needed money into educational, health, economic, environmental, and many other critical statewide programs.  Here are just some of the things we were able to accomplish in this year’s budget:


    • $2.7 billion for transitional kindergarten programs to provide parents with more opportunities to give their children’s education an early boost and support working families with more childcare options.
    • $10 million to expand the Mental Health Student Services Act.  This money will be aimed at helping elementary, middle, and high school students who have experienced or are at risk of experiencing bullying.
    • Spending a record $21,000 per child for all students in the K-12 system, moving California from 21st to 1st in the nation in per pupil spending.
    • Providing $54 million to ensure that no child goes hungry while at school.
    • $2 million to develop and provide curriculum resources related to genocide and Holocaust education to train teachers on how to best educate their students about these tragic events.
    • Increased CalGrant funding at all three levels of higher education to give thousands of California students better access to our CCC, UC, and CSU campuses. This funding should allow 133,000 more CCC students and 40,000 more CSU and UC students to qualify for CalGrant awards each year.
    • $500 million for affordable housing projects at UC, CSU, and CCC campuses.

     Homelessness & Affordable Housing

    • $12 billion in new funding with the goal of ending family homelessness in the next five years. That money is on top of $2 billion for local governments to help them address the twin crises of homelessness and mental health.
    •  Nearly $6.5 billion to help California renters stay in their homes.  Low-income renters who have been unable to pay their rent and had been threatened with eviction will  have 100% of their back rent paid and will be protected from eviction through September.
    • $40 million for homeless youth emergency services including mental health care, housing stabilization, employment training, and more.

    Adult & Family Care

    • Working parents will have access to more affordable child care thanks to funding in the budget that creates 200,000 new childcare slots across the state.
    • Over $250 million to provide more care in mental health rehabilitation centers and skilled nursing facilities.
    • $4.7 billion for special education programs. 
    • Phasing in a $1.2 billion increase in the rates paid to people who provide care to those in the intellectual and developmental disability (IDD) community. This will increase the quality of care and ensure families have access to these vital services.
    • $40 million for clinical laboratories to ensure they can continue to provide care to low-income patients by allowing them to see a clinician, receive testing, and obtain other essential medical services.
    • $300 million to food banks, many of which have been the backbone of the recovery for many in our communities by providing food to those who have nowhere else to turn. This includes:
      • $4 million for Jewish Family Services of L.A.
      • $3.5 million for the L.A. Regional Food Bank for the West Valley Community Center for Social Services
      • $5.7 million for the Jewish Family Services SOVA Community Food and Resource Program

    Working Families and Small Business

    • The Golden State Stimulus program will provide payments of $600-1,100 to people who earn less than $75,000 a year.
    • Small businesses and nonprofits will have access to a pool of $5.5 billion in grant money to help them deal with the impact of the pandemic. These grants are on top of $6.5 billion in tax relief California businesses received earlier this year.

    Battling Antisemitism and Preserving Jewish Culture

    • $2.5 million for the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles.
    • $10 million for the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles.
    • $8 million to provide resettlement services for people who are awarded political asylum to live in California.

    $14 million to preserve and rehabilitate the Breed Street Shul synagogue in Los Angeles.


    In addition to enhancing these essential projects and services, the budget sets aside large pots of funding for programs that promise to expand high-speed broadband services, as well as address wildfire, drought, and climate resiliency issues.  The details of how these investments will be put into action will be discussed between the Legislature and Governor in the coming weeks.
    At a time when so many people, businesses, and communities are still recovering from the challenging and trying time we’ve experienced since March 2020, this budget package will not just give people a helping hand today, but promises to serve us well in the days, months, and years to follow.
    If you need any more information on any of these programs or need any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call my office at (818) 876-3352.

    Senator Henry Stern
    27th Senate District 
    (D-Los Angeles)

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