Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

California is Awesome

I haven’t ranted in a long time, mostly due to the arrival of the Little Demoness. Now’s as good as any to start up again, but this time with a discussion, not a rant.

(Written quickly to get this all out before Someone wakes up from her nap.)

I’ve lived in California for almost my entire life. I understand the fiscal crisis my state is in, and I understand that extreme duress sometimes calls for drastic measures. However, Governor Schwarzenegger’s budget cuts seem to bite hardest into the most vulnerable Californians, and my suspicion is that this is because these people cannot muster the money or the clout to pose any political opposition.

What is our governor cutting funding on? Well, as I posted in my LJ earlier, he’s cutting AIDS funding to pre-1985 levels and effectively eliminating funding for victims of domestic violence.

So, what else is going down?

The Parks budget has been cut by $14 million, which could lead to the (temporary?) closure of over 100 state parks. $3 billion in cuts to the UC and CSU programs, with the CSU system approving a 20% hike in fees. There is a $1.4 billion dollar cut to MediCal, which will no longer cover adult dental services, podiatry, or optometry. Roughly 14,000 In-Home Support Services recipients will have their care reduced, and some 1200 recipients will be dropped completely. Alamenda County will lose $2.8 million in Prop 36 (Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act) funds, which puts drug offenders into substance abuse treatment programs instead of jail. The Healthy Families program was cut by $178.6 million, and will not accept new children. Because the federal CHIP pays $2 for every dollar that CA spends, this amounts to, in total, a loss of almost half the Healthy Families program’s annual funding. There is a $528 million cut in CalWORKS, which includes a reduction in employment and child care services. There is a $79 million cut to Child Welfare Services. A $50 million cut to Early Start programs.

I know that California is in deep shit, but there must be alternatives to drastically cutting the funding on so many programs that affect low-income Californians, children, the elderly, and victims of violence.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 1st, 2009 10:21 pm (UTC)
I've been wondering about the parks funding ... sure, they're just parks, not people, but on the other hand, people come to visit those parks and bring tourism dollars. I went on vacation to California last year, and two of the places we visited on are the list of places that might be closed, and that would be a shame.

I remember reading somewhere, though, that part of the problem is that with the balloting system there, the government can't raise taxes high enough to pay for everything, 'cause people don't want their taxes raised. This is when you run into problems -- you can't keep all of your tax money and get all of these services, too. It seems like a compromise is needed, where the people agree to a tax increase but get to keep some of those services.
Aug. 2nd, 2009 04:07 am (UTC)
I beg to differ, the parks ARE PEOPLE!

I am one of those people, who now has to figure out how to live with 15% less of my income. My car payment isn't 15% less, nor any of my other expenses.
I will have a trickle down effect as there will be less of my income feeding my local economy. Which also means there are less taxes being collected. At my location there are more than 200 people and one of the swords hanging over my head is being replaced by an iPod. Wouldn't that just really be precious?

Thanks ARHNOLD diaf!
Aug. 2nd, 2009 12:31 am (UTC)
I've been following it since you started posting, and I am horrified and angry on your behalf. And I suspect that you're right about the decisions being based on who's most likely to raise opposition.

It's the same thinking that plows new highways through older and low-income neighborhoods, carving them up and precipitating further economic downgrading of those neighborhoods. The very people who are least able to mount resistance are the ones most likely to be taken advantage of, and instances of successful grass-roots activism in these cases are few and far between. It takes money to fight money.
Aug. 2nd, 2009 12:49 am (UTC)
I wish I saw easy, viable answers - particularly as someone riding the current UC wave and praying it doesn't drop down entirely and leave me stranded somewhere deserted any time soon (not to mention my students, present and future).

From anything that's crossed my path in the last year or so, taxing the frak out of things seems to be all that's getting proposed (beyond a handful of pompous prats at UCSD who think that several UC campuses (like mine) should be stricken from existence entirely - to at least cover the education part). I do wonder if it's going to lead to some equally crazy choices in that regard (such as the seemed-impossible-at-the-time-but-might-get-some-attention-now legalize/tax marijuana plan or the tax on pornography/adult materials (both sale and production) - neither of which are anywhere near ideal in theory and would truly have to prove themselves in practice - which is not a leap of faith I'm particularly fond of anyone taking right now).

Thanks for so visibly demonstrating your concern for and attention to these issues overall, m'dear. It's most inspiring! Beyond the UC murmurings I'm not nearly as involved as I should be. But there's no time like the present to change that. What's been done thus far is simply appalling and could have ugly, devastating ramifications for too long to come. And, as you said, the fact that it is hitting so many people who are vulnerable and not able to easily find other means or work their way around what's been done means it's time to step up and help spark a light on their behalf.
Aug. 2nd, 2009 01:02 am (UTC)
The conservatives will get pissed when they have to let everyone out of the prisons.

Californians are learning the basic lessons of government the really freaking, absurdly hard way. Too bad people can't just pay attention in civics and not vote for the prettiest movie star to begin with, eh?
Aug. 2nd, 2009 04:25 pm (UTC)
What ever happened to the legalize-and-tax marajuana plan? Isn't turning a liability into an asset supposed to be the basic economic sense??
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )