The Budget Cut Parade

Commentary by Adrienne Lauby, the Asthmatic Amazon

Listen to audio (begins approx 2:10)

Yesterday Gov Jerry Brown released his budget proposals for the fiscal year that begins in July.  These proposals drive a mack truck through public education and services for the poor, children, seniors and people with disabilities.  This comes after the new holes in California’s Safety Net which followed his mid-cycle trigger cuts.

Our community is planning state-wide rallies on Jan 10 in support of another budget, a “California Budget for the 99%”.  In San Francisco, the rally begins at 3 pm at the State Building, 350 McAllister Street.  In Fresno, it starts at noon at the State Building at 25-50 Mariposa Mall.  Check out our website at pushinglimits dot i941 dot net for contact numbers and other rally sites.

Brown’s 2012 trigger cuts catapulted lawyers and courts into action.  This week, a U.S. District Court denied the 10% trigger cut to Medi-Cal providers. The judge ruled that the gravity of the state’s fiscal crisis is not greater than the harm to patients who would be denied medical care.  It’s already difficult for Medi-Cal users to find medical care due to the current low reimbursement rate from the State of California.  The ruling will be appealed.

On January 19, US District Court Judge Claudia Wilken considers the legality of a 20% across-the-board reduction in “In Home Supportive Services” hours (that’s IHSS) for hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, mental health needs and seniors.  You can expect a rally on Jan 19 outside the Federal Courthouse at 1301 Clay Street in downtown Oakland.  This 20% trigger cut was intended for first of the year but Judge Wilken held it up so she can decide whether the damage it does to ordinary people outweighs California’s budgetary needs.

The $100 million dollar trigger cut to developmental disability services was implemented on January 1.   However the impact of these cuts will be delayed until next year because (and this is the bad news) earlier cuts had already reduced these services and programs so deeply. 

It’s not only people with developmental disabilities who are watching their safety net dissolve, almost every family and community is affected by the poverty of the State of California.  This poverty, in the budget of a state which is the eighth-largest economy in the world is completely unnecessary.  It is a result of the “No New Taxes” pledge  Republicans have made to Jon Coupal’s Taxpayers Association… as well as an arcane process that requires a 2/3 majority to pass the budget. 

So, how do we get more money into the budget to remake out tattered safety net?

In the June primary election, we’ll vote on a tax on cigarettes to fund cancer research, but the big opportunities don’t happen until November when we have our best chance in decades to get substantial new money into the California budget.  Governor Brown is heading up a campaign for new taxes for schools and cops, others want to tax oil and gas and revise the tax breaks for corporations.  Petitions for many of these initiatives will be in front of your local grocery store soon.  

Don’t forget the rally on Jan 10 at the state buildings… in San Francisco at 3 pm and in Fresno at noon.  Put the Jan 19 date on your calendar for the Federal court house in Oakland and hunker down for the long haul.  Get to know your neighbors, occupy your towns.

This has been Adrienne Lauby with a commentary for Pushing Limits.  Thanks to Marty Omoto of the C.D.-CAN Report and The California Watch.  You can read this again, and find more details on our website at pushinglimits dot i941 dot net.

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