Governor Gavin Newsom has released his Proposed Budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year. After several years with budget surpluses, this year the administration has projected a budget deficit of $22.5 billion. Currently, the state has $35.6 billion in reserves.
The Governor’s Proposed Budget does not propose major cuts (although there are some cuts) or dipping into the budget reserve. Rather, various programs funded in recent years will have a delayed implementation, including some workforce programs for social workers, which is of concern to NASW-CA.
Last year, we cosponsored a budget proposal with the County Welfare Directors Association and SEIU to allocate $60 million over two years to expand the number of MSW students at the University of California and California State University programs. The Department of Healthcare Access and Information (HCAI) has taken applications to develop new BSW programs and/or MSW programs and expand existing MSW programs under the Social Work Education Capacity Expansion (SWECE) Grant Program utilizing $30 million in funding appropriated for this fiscal year. HCAI plans to make awards by January 2023.
The second $30 million in grant funding, previously slated to be awarded in 2023-24, is proposed to be delayed until 2024-25 ($15 million) and 2025-26 ($15 million). NASW-CA, along with our partners will advocate to release the full $30 million in the upcoming budget year.
Last year, the Governor’s Proposed Budget also included $210 million in General Fund dollars for social work training, which includes stipends and scholarships for social work students. This year, the Governor is proposing that under this Social Work Initiative, $52 million scheduled to be awarded in 2022-23 and 2023- 24 to expand the number of social workers trained in the state would be delayed until 2024-25 ($26 million) and 2025-26 ($26 million).
We are now at the beginning of the state budget process. The Legislature will make changes to the Governor’s budget over the next six months with final negotiations between the Legislature and the Governor concluding by the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, 2023. Follow our newsletter for updates as the budget is developed. There will be opportunities for social workers to call into budget hearings to urge support for our profession.
We thank our members for continuing to be proponents of addressing and ceasing workforce shortages and working to assure the best possible outcomes for professional social workers and those we serve!