Op-Eds

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, state revenues began to plummet, while spending on unemployment insurance and social programs increased exponentially. The result -- our $21 billion surplus suddenly transformed into a $54.3 billion deficit.  The budget that passed on June 15th was the beginning of discussions between the Governor and the Legislature over a series of trailer bills that implement the budget. Questions remained about how to maintain California’s fiscal solvency without the proposed deep cuts to education, public safety and safety net programs that were on the chopping block… read more
One of my passions in public service is encouraging young women to fulfill their life’s potential by taking full advantage of available educational opportunities. As Minority Leader and a member of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, I am happy to spread the word about the Minerva Scholarship program, established by the Women in California Leadership Foundation to educate, support and empower young women and girls. The Foundation is committed to providing select young women of good character and demonstrated accomplishments with scholarships to help them achieve their objectives. Applications… read more
Last March our economy slammed on the brakes and thousands were thrown out of work. Millions filed for Unemployment Insurance (UI). The Employment Development Department, known as EDD, has processed $26 billion in benefits over 12 weeks, vs $22 billion during the entire recession of 2008. This amounts to 14% of all claims filed nationally. Even so, many unemployed workers have run into problems that have delayed payments for weeks or even months. The deluge of claims overwhelmed EDD, which is in the process of hiring 4,800 new workers. Cases are now being prioritized based on immediate need… read more
In March the Legislature recessed due to the COVID-19 emergency. This recess was unprecedented in our history and underscored a critical problem. While California lawmakers continued to work from their districts, they cannot vote on legislation when they are unable to meet in Sacramento. When it comes to technology, our Legislature is stuck in the past. The recent recess and current social unrest have shown that it can be unsafe for Members, their staff and the public to attend proceedings in the Capitol. We lack clear authority to hold remote hearings during emergency shutdowns. This leaves… read more
This week the California Assembly convened a historic meeting; one that has not happened in 25 years.  Called the “Committee of the Whole,” it is when the entire Assembly comes together to serve as an 80-member budget committee to address this deficit budget cycle. Committee of the Whole meetings are rare and only occur during a crisis. In 1995, the last time it happened, the Legislature was considering the financial fallout from Orange County’s bankruptcy. This time of course, we are facing a huge budget shortfall caused by the Coronavirus-induced recession. With tax revenues falling and… read more
It’s graduation time and unfortunately the events that our college and high school students, 8th graders, kindergarteners and many others have been eagerly working toward all year have been significantly impacted by the  COVID-19 pandemic, and that includes canceling traditional graduations and grad nights, school dances and other large gatherings.  These events and ceremonies are the focal point of the school year and of a student’s academic career.  From Temecula to Fallbrook and Bonsall, to Valley Center, San Marcos and Escondido, schools and colleges at all grade levels throughout this… read more
Governor Newsom's May Revise budget projection for the coming Fiscal Year shows that the $21 billion surplus we had has become a $54 billion deficit in our state budget! The economic activity that generates tax revenues supporting state programs has collapsed because of Covid-19. We are now in a serious recession, with unemployment levels greater than those of the Great Depression. It is imperative that we safely open up our economy to reduce the hit on our economic outlook and help Californians recover. I’ve joined a group of western state leaders asking the federal government to provide… read more
We all miss going out to eat, seeing our family dentist and sporting events.  Small businesses have taken a huge hit, and we must ensure they recover.  The Governor just released Phase 2 reopening, based on successes with social distancing and smoothing the curve. California’s economy should reopen quickly. By using social distancing and other protections, most businesses can reopen while keeping customers safe. As a member of the Joint Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery, I’ll be working on initiatives to help restore California’s economy. First of all, the state should Improve its… read more
Governor Newsom recently announced creation of the first-in-the-nation “Great Plates Delivered program,” which will partner with cities, counties and Tribes to deliver food to older adults.   The program will provide nutritious meals to older Californians who should stay home during the COVID-19 pandemic. By partnering with local restaurants struggling to stay afloat, the program keeps restaurant workers employed, and seniors will stay safely at home without risking their health at the local supermarket. Participants must be 65 or older and considered high-risk because they have coronavirus… read more
Governor Newsom recently created the California Task Force on Business and Jobs Recovery to get the economy growing again as quickly and safely as possible. As Assembly Minority Leader and a small business owner, I was honored to be selected as a member of this critical team. The Coronavirus response has devastated California’s economy, including thousands  of small businesses that employ millions. We slammed the brakes on the world’s fifth largest economy, and the most vulnerable have been hit the hardest. While health and safety will come first, the 80-member Task Force will work toward… read more