Schwarzenegger’s Raw Deal for California Families

Governor Schwarzenegger released his budget proposal on Friday, and it’s really ugly.  Knowledge is power, and though it sucks to have to relate this bad news to supporters of HAMO, I am heartened by the fact that once people understand how bad this budget proposal is, they’ll mobilize to fight against it.

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“Regular cuts”  and “trigger cuts” One of the first things to understand about Schwarzenegger’s budget proposal is that it contains two levels of cuts.  The first level contains the regular cuts that would take place regardless of how much money California gets from the Feds.  The second level includes more drastic “trigger cuts”, cuts that will only take place if “triggered” by the Federal government giving California less than $6.9 billion by July 2010, and “Regular Cuts”  affecting children and families:

  • Cutting CalWORKs (California’s welfare program) grant levels by 15%. (This is on top of last year’s 4% CalWORKs grant cut).  This cut will cost the typical CalWORKs family of three $109/month.
  • Elimination of the CalWORKs recent non-citizen entrants program (for legal immigrants who have been in the US less than 5 years).
  • Elimination of the California Food Assistance Program (provides nutrition assistance to legal immigrants who are ineligible for Food Stamps solely because of their immigration status.)
  • Reducing the level at which the state reimburses CalWORKs child care providers.
  • Reduction of SSI/SSP grants by $15/month (this would be the fourth cut in 12 months for low-income disabled and/or elderly folks on SSI/SSP.)
  • Reduction of family planning reimbursement rates.
  • Limiting eligibility for Healthy Families as well as increasing premiums and decreasing benefits for some children in the program.
  • Asking voters to approve raiding “First 5” funds to pay for programs usually funded through the General Fund.  (“First 5” programs help kids aged 0-5 and is funded through a 50 cent per pack tobacco tax.)

Trigger cuts

  • Complete elimination of the CalWORKs program.
  • Complete elimination of the Healthy Families program.
  • Complete elimination of the In Home Supportive Services program.
  • $36 million in cuts to Transitional Housing Plus Program for foster youth.
  • Elimination of “federally optional” Medi-Cal benefits like durable medical equipment and physical therapy.
  • Asking voters to allow the state to raid Prop 63 funds to pay for existing mental health programs (Prop 63 levies a tax on millionaires. Funds are used for new — not existing– mental health treatment programs.)

So, what are we going to do about this?

The worst thing we can do right now is stay silent! Tell your family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers about the Governor’s proposed cuts and encourage them to speak out against the cuts.

Contact your California Legislators and the Governor and tell them what YOUR budget priorities are! Contact the Governor here. Not sure who your California legislator is?    Search by zip code here.

Keep up with the latest developments.