Gov. Brown's budget proposal will mean the continued erosion to necessary programs, facilities and education.
By Brian W. Carter, Sentinel Staff Writer
Governor Brown gave his state of the state address at the Capitol on Monday and announced there would be no new changes to any of the state policies. Brown said within his speech that a change in the budget would be best left to voters come this summer.
Having served two previous terms as governor, Brown has experience in this department and knows there won't be any easy answers to the state's economic problems.
"From the time I proposed what I believe to be a balanced approach to our budget deficit, both cuts and a temporary extension of current taxes, dozens of groups affected by one or another of the proposed cuts have said, we should cut somewhere else instead," said Brown.
"Still others say, we should not extend the current taxes but let them go away. So far, however, these same people have failed to offer even one alternative solution."
Brown has shown himself to be one of the most frugal of California's governors in the past, by shunning a lavish lifestyle. It's apparent that he is not an elected official that the voters have to worry about over spending funds. Unfortunately, with no other solution at hand, the taxes continue where they are.
Prior to the governor's address Senator Curren Price responded to the Governor's budget proposal and voiced his concerns over the continued sacrifice of needed programs, funding and education.
"I recognize the unprecedented fiscal challenge facing California and the difficult choices we face in bringing the state budget into balance," said Price. "However, we must be careful not to balance the budget on the backs of our state's most vulnerable citizens; children, the poor, disabled and elderly.
"Exacerbated by the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with unemployment in the double-digits and a substantial decline in tax revenues, we are witnessing the dismantling of our state's safety net and the erosion of programs that impact our local municipalities, school districts, colleges and universities."
Governor Brown stands uneasy that the GOP has yet to find a solution to the budget crisis. He is calling voters to come out this summer and cast their ballots for the change. With Republicans wanting high taxes to end and Democrats fearing further reductions in programs, a continued heated debate lies ahead.
The proposed budget would severely affect many programs and funding including the following:
*Eliminates more than half of state funding Cal WORKS by cutting $1.5 billion in state and federal funding and reducing monthly grants by 13 percent reducing the number of Cal WORKS families from a projected 580,000 to 458,000.
*Cuts the In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program by $486 million by reducing the hours of services and eliminating some services, affecting more than 450,000 low-come and disabled Californians.
*Impacts the child-care programs for low-income working families by eliminating child care assistance for 11 -and 12 year-olds, except those through served through the State Preschool Program.
*Reduces the maximum monthly SSI/SSP grant for individuals from $845 to $830, the minimum allowed by federal law.
*Reduces by 1.7 billion funding for the Medi-Cal program, capping benefits for prescription drugs at six per month and limiting doctor visits to 10 per year.
According to the governor, there are very hard times ahead and "... we have to solve them, not as Democrats or Republicans, but as Californians."