Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell Casts Tough Budget Vote

March 18, 2011

But Says Cuts Must Be Followed By More Revenues

Floor Statement

These are tough times, and Governor Brown has proposed tough solutions.

In short, we face impossible, dangerous choices.

I am willing to vote yes because action must be taken, and the people sent us to Sacramento to act.

There is no doubt that re-development has directed funds into local projects that have relieved area blight and created needed jobs. For instance, Culver City redevelopment commits funds to local education expected to yield $1.2 million for the Culver City School District this year alone. That's an example of some of the positive aspects of re-development.

Tragically, at a time like this, when we're experiencing a deficit of epic proportion, we're forced to consider the local benefits re-development generates along- side the importance of basic safety net measures for our most vulnerable residents – the frail, elderly, the disabled and children.

In the Health and Human Services Budget Sub-committee that I chair, more than 1,000 people testified and we received thousands of letters and faxes from all over California – both workers and recipients, both the able-bodied who need help with their families and those who depend upon the state for care and mobility.

All of them came here, to their Capitol to plead and to warn us of how much the State's services mean – not only to the quality of their lives, but in many cases, to the sustenance of life itself.

The 12.5 billion dollar expenditure reductions include six billion dollars in cuts to health and human services, and another $500 million in cuts to child care programs.

If anyone tries to suggest that the cuts are not deep enough:

  • Ask the mom who testified holding the hands of her two young children, fighting back the tears her daughter could not: If she loses her child care subsidy, she loses her job and the three will be homeless.
  • More than 60,000 children in more than 30,000 families will lose their child care under this proposal.
  • Ask any of the 130,000 family child providers and center teachers (each of whom now serves at least one subsidized child) how secure they feel about keeping their jobs and their small businesses open to serve families and support themselves.
  • Ask the mom struggling on CalWORKs who testified she is trying to find a job while caring for her traumatized children after her husband's murder: She will see her grant reduced by 8% to no more than $638 per month and will face a new time limit of 48 months.
  • These are just a few of the over 575,000 families and over 1.1 million children who receive CalWORKs assistance who will be negatively impacted by this budget. And these are the ones who are lucky enough to continue to receive any aid at all.
  • Ask the 64 year old grandmother who worked as a Certified Nurses' Assistant for years and is now caring for her two grandbabies - struggling to feed and house them and keep them out of foster care. She will see their grant cut to $561 per month, decreasing every year after they reach the newly imposed time limit on children.
  • Ask the 40 year old brittle diabetic who testified that he depends on his local Adult Day Health Center to keep his diabetes in check and him home with his caretaker - his 79 year old grandmother. ADHC has kept him out of the ER and out of a nursing home. He is one of the 27,000 Californians who depend on ADHC monthly and face, at best, uncertainty and, at worst, transfer to a nursing facility as the program is eliminated and rebuilt with greatly reduced funding.
  • Ask the young man that recently visited my office who is approaching 18 and ages out of the foster care system soon, where he will sleep, how he will afford his community college classes and what hopes he dares to have, if any, for the future.

These cuts go deep, hurting those most in need of services, and exacting the pound of flesh in payment for our economic sins from those who have the least to give.

And yet, I will vote yes. We all must take action in order to get our state back on a stable course.

But the people who testified or wrote and pleaded with us to hear their stories, simply cannot endure the deeper blows of an all-cuts budget.

I beseech my colleagues across the aisle; compromise means giving as well as taking. Cuts that hurt must be matched by resources that salvage.

Contact: Charles Stewart @ (310) 482-1070