Governor Gavin Newsom signs $215 billion budget, largest in state history

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- California Governor Gavin Newsom made a point to say the state budget, with emphasis on health care, child care and education, sets the state apart.

"California values were reflected in this budget," he said.

The immediate beneficiaries of the new state budget will be college students.

"First door is to higher education is a community college, (the) second year of community college free," Newsom said in news conference Monday.

Emilee Slater, Director of College Relations at Fresno City College, says the budget should get more people into college.

"There's no reason not to anymore, for those who never thought they'd receive financial aid, oh, I don't qualify, this is for those students," she said.

Free tuition for two years saves close to $3,000 for a full-time student. The program starts this fall, expanding the one-year free tuition that began last year.

The budget also provides millions to expand preschool and daycare services.

It will pay for 30,000 new openings in child care centers, with an estimated 5,000 for Fresno County. Emilia Reyes, executive director of First Five Fresno County, sees it as a bold step forward.

"It's actually a tremendous impact on young children and families, in Fresno, specifically in the Central Valley," she said.

The state budget provides money to expand and renovate child care centers, provide early diagnostic medical screening for children, and even provide home visits for families.

In two years, schools must offer full-day kindergarten classes. Reducing childcare costs, and the budget provides more in tax credits for low-income families.

"We expanded the working families tax credit, $1,000 for families with children under the age of 6," Governor Newsom said.

The budget also takes the first steps toward universal health care with coverage for anyone up to age 26, regardless of immigration status. There will be a $600 fine for anyone who doesn't get health care coverage.

Cities and counties will also receive millions to ease the homeless crisis across the state.

All in all, it's a progressive budget, aimed at helping a lot of people, which also includes a sizable multi-billion dollar reserve.

The Governor ended his budget signing with a swipe at the President, "Donald Trump eat your heart out we are running record surpluses, you are running record deficits."
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