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Assemblymember Connolly Helps Pass Balanced Budget that Saves Key Investments

The Budget Act of 2024 passes the State Legislature and saves funding for the Marine Mammal Center, Developmental Service Providers, Active Transportation projects, and California Nutrition programs

For immediate release:

SACRAMENTO, CA The Budget Act of 2024 has officially passed out of the California State Legislature, and Assemblymember Damon Connolly (D-San Rafael) is highlighting significant victories that save key investments and preserve funding for vital programs. The Budget Act or Assembly Bill (AB) 107, preserves funding for programs that were proposed to be cut or eliminated entirely in the Governor’s May Revise budget proposal. This includes the Marine Mammal Center, adequate compensation for service providers for the developmentally disabled, the state’s Active Transportation Program (ATP), and the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP). Through his role on the Assembly Budget Committee and Assembly Budget Subcommittee No. 4 on Climate Crisis, Resources, Energy and Transportation, Assemblymember Connolly was able to successfully advocate, along with legislative colleagues, to save funding for these programs through the creation of the Joint Legislative Budget Plan and the passage of AB 107.

“Over the past five months, we have been working in the Assembly Budget Committee to craft a balanced proposal during a tough year where the state faces a serious budget shortfall,” said Assemblymember Connolly. “I am extremely proud that the Budget Act of 2024 saves key programs that are vitally important to the North Bay and the State of California. Ensuring funding for the Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito, adequate wages for service providers who help care for vulnerable Californians, the Active Transportation Program, and the state’s Nutrition Incentive Program, were some of my key priorities during budget negotiations. While difficult decisions are going to be made to balance the budget, we cannot let our deficit be an excuse to roll back progress on climate change and environmental protection, care for the developmentally disabled, and projects that support traditionally disadvantaged communities. I was pleased to support AB 107 in the Assembly today.”

Since 2015, the Marine Mammal Center has received an annual allocation of $2 million from the Legislature, which it uses to fund twelve marine mammal rescue organizations up and down the California Coast that rescues and rehabilitates stranded and injured marine mammals. In the Governor’s May Revise budget proposal, this funding was eliminated completely. The Legislature rejected this proposal and restored funding for the Marine Mammal Center, which is headquartered in Sausalito.

“We applaud Assemblymember Connolly’s efforts in leading the charge to ensure the state’s dozen marine mammal rescue and care facilities have the resources to continue their crucial work,” said Dr. Jeff Boehm, Chief External Relations Officer at The Marine Mammal Center in Sausalito. “Over the past decade, it has become abundantly clear that the health of the ocean and marine mammals is in jeopardy and humans and animals alike rely on a healthy marine ecosystem. With this funding, The Marine Mammal Center and colleagues up and down the coast will be able to continue work to rescue and care for stranded and injured marine mammals, important indicators of the health of our ocean ecosystem.”

The final phase of the Developmental Services Provider Rate Reform was on track to increase rates on July 1, 2024, for providers who deliver care to adults and children with developmental disabilities. These rate reforms were secured in the Budget Act of 2021 to address the widespread workforce shortage of direct care staff. The Governor’s May Revise budget proposal would have delayed increasing compensation for these vital service providers, which could have disrupted care for thousands of California’s most vulnerable residents. The Legislature rejected this delay in support for service providers caring for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

“By rejecting the delay of rate increases, legislators took a much-needed stand for our most vulnerable people,” said Diana Conti, CEO of Partners and Advocates for Remarkable Children and Adults. “Pending the Governor’s approval, the Legislature will have prevented breaking the back of the entire service delivery system. I know first-hand, as a CEO of an organization that serves people with developmental disabilities that it is impossible to hire staff who are paid on par with fast food workers. Our programs will close without skilled staff. We are well represented by Assemblymember Connolly, whose absolute commitment to people with developmental disabilities and support for this action, is truly helping countless Californians with developmental disabilities and their families.”

The Active Transportation Program (ATP) is the state’s primary funding source of local projects that encourage increased use of active modes of transportation, such as walking and biking. This program has been critical in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and enhancing public health with 85 percent of funds dedicated to projects in disadvantaged communities. More than 400 of the funded projects have been Safe Routes to Schools projects and programs that encourage a healthy and active lifestyle throughout students' lives. The Governor’s May Revise budget proposal cut ATP by $559 million. Three projects in the North Bay were at risk of losing funding under this cut, including: the San Rafael Canal Crossing Project, Central Marin Regional Pathways Gap Closure Project in Corte Madera, and the Canal Neighborhood Active Transportation Enhancements Project. The Legislature rejected this proposal and preserved funding for ATP and its projects.

“We are grateful for Assemblymember Connolly's leadership in standing up for the Active Transportation Fund, said Tarrell Kullaway, Executive Director, Marin County Bicycle Coalition. “In this tight budget year, between $400 and $600 million in funds to fight climate change and keep our citizens safe through biking and walking projects were on the chopping block. The Assemblymember worked with statewide active transportation leaders and groups like ours to save this crucial funding.”

Lastly, the California Nutrition Incentive Program (CNIP) encourages low-income individuals using nutrition benefits, such as CalFresh, to purchase locally grown, healthy California fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts by providing incentives to shoppers at certified farmers’ markets and small businesses. These incentives are also available to low-income seniors. A study conducted by the University of California, Nutrition Policy Institute, found that a majority of CNIP participants are women, 56 percent identify as Latino/a, and on average have 2 children ranging from ages 0 to 5. The study also found that participants had overwhelmingly positive experiences with CNIP and the program helped increase purchases of more locally grown and organic produce. The Governor’s May Revise budget proposal would have cut CNIP by $33.2 million. The Legislature rejected this proposal and maintained funding for CNIP.

“On behalf of the Save Market Match Coalition, we are incredibly grateful to Assemblymember Connolly and his colleagues for prioritizing the California Nutrition Incentive Program, which funds Market Match,” said Andy Naja-Riese, CEO, Agricultural Institute of Marin. “CNIP is not only a lifeline for food-insecure families, but it also supports small and mid-size farmers and rural communities, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing travel distance from farm to table. The Legislature’s funding proposal would annually incentivize the purchase of over 114 million servings of California-grown fruits and vegetables by low-income Californians, and provide $19.5 million in economic stimulus to California small farmers.”


Assemblymember Connolly represents the entirety of Marin County and Southern Sonoma County