California’s incoming governor, who must send his first state budget plan to the Legislature this week, has already signaled a significant new focus on programs to help families and children from infancy to college.
Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom campaigned on a platform that included a number of child-focused efforts specifically aimed at helping lower-income families. The price tag for the initial efforts is expected to approach $2 billion — a cost paid out of an unrestricted tax revenue windfall that could be one of the largest in state history.
Newsom may also seek help for families through new subsidies paid by California employers. The governor-elect is expected to propose a dramatic expansion of paid parental leave — from six weeks to six months — according to an internal document provided by a source close to the Newsom transition team, first reported on Sunday by the New York Times.
The document doesn’t offer a full explanation for how the program will be funded, saying instead that the budget will set “a goal of ensuring that all newborns and newly adopted babies can be cared for by a parent or a close family member for the first six months.” Employers across the state are currently assessed a payroll tax that helps offer a subsidy to parents who temporarily leave their job to care for a newborn.
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