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AB-1338 Public social services programs: financial assistance demonstration and research programs.(2021-2022)

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Date Published: 04/12/2021 09:00 PM
AB1338:v97#DOCUMENT

Amended  IN  Assembly  April 12, 2021
Amended  IN  Assembly  March 25, 2021

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2021–2022 REGULAR SESSION

Assembly Bill
No. 1338


Introduced by Assembly Member Low

February 19, 2021


An act to add Section 17131.12 to the Revenue and Taxation Code, and to add Section 11008.16 to, and to add Chapter 5.9 (commencing with Section 13675) to Part 3 of Division 9 of, the Welfare and Institutions Code, relating to public social services.


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


AB 1338, as amended, Low. Public social services programs: financial assistance demonstration and research programs.
(1) Existing law establishes the State Department of Social Services, which has authority over various programs aimed at providing services for needy individuals. Existing law requires the department to administer various public social services programs, including the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program, under which each county provides cash assistance and other benefits to qualified low-income families and individuals, and the CalFresh program, under which supplemental nutrition assistance benefits allocated to the state by the federal government are distributed to eligible individuals by each county. Existing law establishes the State Department of Health Care Services, which administers the Medi-Cal program, under which qualified low-income individuals receive health care services, and provides that health care is a component of public social services.
This bill would require the department to develop a process to register any organization or entity that issues financial assistance through a program in the state, and to make public on its internet website a list of those organizations or entities that have registered to issue financial assistance. The bill would define “financial assistance” as an unconditional cash payment of an equal amount issued monthly, but for a period not to exceed 60 months, to a resident of California who is enrolled in a demonstration or research program, which investigates the impacts of policies or programs that are designed to reduce poverty, promote social mobility, or increase financial stability for California residents, to improve the recipient’s economic security, reduce harm, and improve health, education, and employment outcomes of the recipient or any member of their family. Upon implementing a program, and annually thereafter, the bill would require an organization or entity issuing financial assistance to register that program with the department, and to provide the department with specified information, including disclosing all funding sources of the program under which the financial assistance income is distributed, and, upon the conclusion of the program, to report to the department on the research outcomes.
(2) Existing law sets forth eligibility requirements for public social services programs administered by the department, and provides that certain moneys, including the value of any education-related loan or grant to any undergraduate student, as specified, or reparation payments made by the federal United States or Canadian government to persons of Japanese ancestry who were interned during World War II, is not considered income or resources for purposes of determining eligibility or the amount of those benefits.
To the extent authorized under federal law, this bill would exclude financial assistance, as described above, issued by an organization or entity that has registered with the department from being considered income or resources for purposes of determining eligibility to receive benefits or the amount of those benefits under the CalWORKs program and the CalFresh program. Because counties are generally responsible for making eligibility determinations for these public social services programs, and this bill would expand eligibility, the bill would impose a state-mandated local program.

(3)The Personal Income Tax Law and the Corporation Tax Law, in conformity with federal income tax law, generally define “gross income” as income from whatever source derived, except as specifically excluded, and provide various exclusions from gross income.

This bill, for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, would exclude from gross income, for personal income tax purposes, financial assistance that is provided to a taxpayer who is enrolled in a program, as specified above.

(4)

(3) Existing law continuously appropriates moneys from the General Fund to defray a portion of county costs under the CalWORKs program.
This bill would instead provide that the continuous appropriation would not be made for purposes of implementing the bill.

(5)

(4) The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that reimbursement.
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to the statutory provisions noted above.
Vote: MAJORITY   Appropriation: NO   Fiscal Committee: YES   Local Program: YES  

The people of the State of California do enact as follows:


SECTION 1.

 (a) The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(1) The State of California should explore guaranteed income as a means of ensuring economic security for all Californians.
(2) California leads the country in social and economic innovation by serving as a model for renewable energy adoption, pioneering technology to improve people’s lives, and adopting paid family leave, worker sick leave, and other worker rights.
(3) The key to California’s prosperity is its people. The hard work and creativity of California’s diverse residents have driven the state’s success, and the state thrives when all residents are included in and contribute to society.
(4) However, not every Californian is sharing in this success and prosperity. According to the California Poverty Measure, 17.8 percent of all Californians lived in poverty in 2017. The number is much higher for communities of color, with 42.5 percent of the Black population and 50.1 percent of the Latinx population living in poverty. The San Jose area’s gross metro product (GMP) per capita is 64 percent greater than the rest of the state, and the San Francisco area’s GMP per capita is 45 percent greater than the rest of the state. Without the San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, the County of Orange, and San Diego metro areas, the state’s GMP per capita would be just above that of Mississippi, the hardest struggling state in the nation. While state minimum wage increases are making a difference, California wages still have a long way to go to keep up with the economy. From 1979 to 2014, wages for the 20th, 50th, and 90th percentile dropped a respective 42 percent, 38 percent, and 13 percent when adjusted for GMP per capita.
(5) While there is great potential to reverse this course by ensuring that every worker has a living wage and the right to collective bargaining, California should also pursue the additional stopgap of guaranteed income until we achieve this goal and to ensure that the inability to earn income from work, either in the short term or the long term, does not prevent a person from achieving economic stability.
(6) Unconditional cash assistance will work to reduce the drastic inequality that is undermining our shared prosperity only if it is issued in coordination with public safety net benefit programs. Yet, without changes to existing law and guidance, the various research pilots distributing guaranteed income being conducted throughout the state will be conducted in ways that are disrupting existing public safety net benefits programs, which will not result in outcomes that aid in an understanding of how these powerful antipoverty tools can work together.
(b) Therefore, it is the intent of the Legislature to do all both of the following:
(1) Develop a registration process for any organization or entity that issues financial assistance through a program in the state to ensure coordination of these financial assistance programs with public social services programs.
(2) Exclude financial assistance, as issued by a registered program in the state, as income or resources for purposes of determining eligibility to receive benefits or the amount of those benefits under prescribed public social services programs.

(3)For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, provide that gross income does not include financial assistance that is provided to a taxpayer who is enrolled in a registered financial assistance program.

SEC. 2.Section 17131.12 is added to the Revenue and Taxation Code, to read:
17131.12.

For taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2021, gross income does not include any financial assistance that is provided to a taxpayer who is enrolled in a program, as described under Chapter 5.9 (commencing with Section 13675) of Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code.

SEC. 3.SEC. 2.

 Section 11008.16 is added to the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:

11008.16.
 To the extent authorized under federal law, financial assistance issued by an organization or entity that has registered with the department, as described under Chapter 5.9 (commencing with Section 13675), is not considered income or resources for purposes of determining eligibility to receive benefits or the amount of those benefits under either of the following public social services programs:
(a) The CalWORKs program (Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 11200)).
(b) The CalFresh program (Chapter 10 (commencing with Section 18900)).

SEC. 4.SEC. 3.

 Chapter 5.9 (commencing with Section 13675) is added to Part 3 of Division 9 of the Welfare and Institutions Code, to read:
CHAPTER  5.9. Financial Assistance Demonstration and Research Programs

13675.
 For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply:
(a) “Department” means the State Department of Social Services.
(b) “Financial assistance” means an unconditional cash payment of an equal amount issued monthly to a resident of California who is enrolled in a program, as defined in subdivision (c), and that payment shall meet both of the following:
(1) The payment is received for a period of no more than 60 months.
(2) The payment is provided to a resident of California to improve economic security, reduce harm, and improve health, education, and employment outcomes of the recipient or any member of their family.
(c) “Program” means a demonstration or research program that investigates the impacts of policies or programs designed to reduce poverty, promote social mobility, or increase financial stability for California residents.
(d) “State” means the State of California.

13676.
 (a) The department shall do both of the following:
(1) Develop a process for purposes of registering any organization or entity that issues financial assistance through a program in the state.
(2) Make public on its internet website a list of those organizations and entities that have registered to issue financial assistance pursuant to this chapter.
(b) The department may prescribe any regulations necessary or appropriate to carry out the purpose of this chapter.

13677.
 (a) Upon implementation of a program, and annually thereafter, an organization or entity issuing financial assistance under that program in this state shall do all of the following:
(1) Register the program with the department pursuant to the process established under Section 13676.
(2) Provide the department with all of the following:
(A) Disclose all funding sources of the program under which the financial assistance income shall be distributed.
(B) Identify a program contact person to act as a liaison to the department.
(C) Include a plan for any data collection and program evaluation that is developed before participants in the study are enrolled in the program.
(b) Upon the conclusion of a program, an organization or entity issuing financial assistance under this chapter shall report to the department on the research outcomes.

SEC. 5.SEC. 4.

 No appropriation pursuant to Section 15200 of the Welfare and Institutions Code shall be made for purposes of implementing this act.

SEC. 6.SEC. 5.

 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.