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Bass: Californians Must Come First In Budget

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Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles)
This week, the Assembly and Senate sent the Governor a comprehensive package of cuts and other solutions that would have resolved California’s entire $19 billion deficit, which was caused by the national recession. The package that was put forward by Democrats left a healthy reserve and avoided a cash crisis and IOUs. Unfortunately, the Governor and Senate Republicans rejected this responsible solution and have now led California over a financial cliff.

There is too much work to do to waste time assigning blame, but resolving the deficit just got at least $6 billion harder thanks to their blocking the cash solutions passed overwhelmingly in the Assembly.  Solving the deficit is a job we must and will finish.

The Assembly will continue pursuing comprehensive solutions to the deficit crisis California is sharing with so many of our sister states. We will continue to do so in a way that prevents the elimination of California’s safety net and the evisceration of our public schools.

Throughout the process my Democratic colleagues and I fought the worst aspects of governor’s budget, specifically his outlandish proposals to totally abolish the safety net in California.

This is what I’m talking about:

The Governor’s budget would mean 950,000 kids lose Healthy Families health care.

The Governor’s budget would kick 587,000 poor families off of CalWorks. CalWorks has been working.

Until the current recession, CalWORKs caseloads have declined 50% since 1995.

The Governor’s budget would basically eliminate In Home Supportive Services and make it more likely that 400,000 elderly Californians would lose their independence and get forced into nursing homes.

The Governor’s phased-in elimination of CalGrants would mean 75,000 to 100,000 kids scheduled to start school in September will have their grants taken away. CalGrants make the opportunity to go to college as accessible to underserved and middle class families as it is to the children of millionaires.

One young African American woman -- 24 years old and born HIV positive testified that the governor’s proposal will cut her off from lifesaving anti-viral drugs.

We will continue to work in the coming days to find solutions to our budget deficit that don’t come by sacrificing the most vulnerable in our society. And while deep cuts to services I care deeply about were inevitable in these tough times, we can’t let California become the only government in the first world without a safety net.

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