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“Family Values”…Terminator Style


“…first let me just say that I believe that the budget should be a reflection of what we in California value most and also it should be a representation of what our administration stands for, in good times or in bad.”

With those words echoing off the halls of the Capitol, Governor Schwarzenegger proceeded to unveil billions of dollars in new cuts to health and human services programs on Friday, May 14, with no new revenue sources identified, no new taxes and no cancellation of the 2009 tax breaks to corporations.

These cuts are in addition to cuts proposed in the January budget, but in some cases take the place of reductions proposed in January. In all, fully 2/3 of the proposed budget cuts of some $12.4 billion come at the expense of health and human services and include:

  • Elimination of the CalWORKs Program, which provides temporary cash aid, education, training, child care and employment assistance to over 500,000 California families, including more than 1 million children. With an estimated savings of about $1.1 billion, and a loss of over $4.2 billion in federal funds, the elimination of CalWORKs would leave California as the only state in the nation without a safety net for low-income families with children.
  • Elimination of state funded child care services, except for pre-school and after school programs, leaving 185,000 children and 85,000 working parents without affordable child care.
  • Decimates County Mental Health services by reducing funding by 60%
  • In lieu of his January proposed cuts to IHSS, proposes to reduce the IHSS program by $0.8 billion through a “stakeholder process.”
  • Increases Medi-Cal co-payments for extremely low income individuals; limits physician visits to 10 visits a year; limits access to durable medical equipment; limits prescription drugs to 6 per month; and eliminates most over-the-counter drugs from Medi-Cal.

All this, in addition to the January proposed cuts, which include elimination of the Adult Day Heath Care Program; elimination of the CAPI program, which provides cash assistance to low-income legal, non-citizens (Arizona legislators must be applauding right now); a reduction of the SSI/SSP benefits from $845 to $830 per month – and many more cuts too numerous to mention.

Can he be serious? These proposed cuts are a reflection of what the citizens in California value most?

We don’t think so, and neither do the majority of our legislators.

According to various polls, California voters continue to demonize their state legislators for not passing a budget under the timelines required by law. This year will be no different. In fact, we’ll be lucky to have a budget by September, and the Governor knows this. California’s Governor has thrown the gauntlet down and has asked our legislators to choose between starving our children, sending the mentally ill to the streets, and denying health care to the poorest of the poor or imposing taxes on corporations. We have to ask: how can any semblance of a “balanced” budget be passed at all, much less on time, when a 2/3 vote is required and when the Governor has threatened to veto any budget that does not meet his criteria for not raising taxes?

Governor Schwarzenegger knows full well that his proposed budget cuts will not pass the legislature. He also knows that – while he is “out of here” at the end of the year and back to pumping iron in Hollywood– the legislators will have to live with the cries of the children, the poor, the elderly and persons with disabilities who are the victims of his irresponsible political adventure.

The Governor is right on one count, however. His budget is a very good representation of what his administration stands for.

May Revise Highlights

January Budget Highlights

Page Last Modified: May 26, 2010