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Jerry Brown proposes billions in cuts. Are Californians getting his message?

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Political analysts say Brown is playing the problem as directly as can be expected, given the shortfall in expected tax revenues, higher costs to fund schools, and decisions by the federal government and courts to block budget cuts that had already been approved.

“Governor Brown is doing all he can to press for the tax increase solution by touting wide-reaching and unpleasant budget cuts as necessities without those tax increases,” says Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College, in an e-mail.

Brown said he wants to cut Medi-Cal, California’s Medicaid program, by $1.2 billion and keep another $1.2 billion in cuts to welfare and child-care that he proposed in January.

Advocacy groups and health-care and welfare organizations are crying out.

“The governor has proposed that the legislature fund a $1 billion rainy day fund, but we think it's raining now, and some funds should be used to backfill welfare-to-work programs,” says Ron Coleman, statewide policy analyst for the California Immigrant Policy Center. “Doing this now is antithetical to the recovery that the state needs to get out of this fiscal mess. Historically, California has come back by putting people back to work.”

People are not taking the news of Brown’s proposals sitting down.

Rallies by several health and human services advocate organizations organized under the Health and Human Services Network of California (HHSNC) are taking place in Riverside, Los Angeles, Fresno, San Jose, and Sacramento.

“The cuts in the revised budget boil down to stark decisions: giving an easy ride to corporations rather than supporting California’s families,” said Vanessa Aramayo, executive director of California Partnership and a leader of HHSNC, in a statement.

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