Price Town Hall Meeting Addresses Budget Woes by Miriam Estavanez

California State Senator Curren Price, Jr. at Town Hall meeting

There is no question that California is in financial trouble, and cities all over the state will be facing even more budget cuts for 2010. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has already announced that the state is about $20 billion in debt, with more cuts on the way.

Senator Curren D. Price, Jr. who represents Culver City as part of the 26th District in the State Senate, held a Legislative Town Hall at the Senior Center on Thursday, Jan. 28 to reassure the public about the pending budget cuts, and to address questions and concerns the public had over the government’s handling of the money crisis. The town hall was one of several that the senator held throughout January to inform people within his district about the current situation in Sacramento.

“Californians are going through tough economic times; I don’t have to tell you that story,” said Price as he addressed the crowd. “People are losing jobs, losing homes, careers are evaporating. The state unemployment rate now exceeds 12 percent, that is the highest it has been since the depression.”

Price informed the crowd that the Governor’s new budget proposal will included deep cuts into health and human service programs. Under his new plan, the most disadvantaged people in our society; children, low income families, illegal immigrants, senior citizens and the disabled, will be disadvantaged by the cuts the governor is proposing.

“The governor’s s plan is a presumption that we are going to receive about $70 billion in stimulus money. The problem is that there is no guarantee that we are going to get that money.” said Price, adding that if the stimulus does not arrive, the governor plans to trim about $8.9 billion from health and social service programs.

Price displayed the statistics of the financial crisis in large graphs on the podium, a startling visual reminder of just how much money was lost in the past years.

Along with the ongoing money crisis, Price touched upon the health care debate, stressing that although the health care topic was very important, it was not the only thing being argued over in Sacramento.

“You know how important healthcare is. We are on the cusp of something; we’re not quite sure what it is, or what will come out of it.” Price said, referring to the health care debates that have been going on reform

California State Senator Curren Price, Jr. at Town Hall meeting

for months. “But we are also trying to focus on job creation, job development and to make that work.”
Despite the grim news about the state budget, Senator Price was optimistic, and encouraged the crowd to become more active in supporting vital programs that may disappear once money is deferred. He strongly encouraged people with concerns to become more proactive in influencing the decisions that are being made in Sacramento.

“We don’t have the luxury of sitting back and just seeing what happens.” said Price. “The worst thing that may happen is that the programs that you love and depend on may be eliminated. Now is the time to be active. Make phone calls, write letters, organize behind issues or concerns that you have so that you can be more effective in your support or opposition for your programs.”

At the conclusion of the town hall, the Senator ended on an optimistic note, praising Culver City and the citizens who took the time to attend the town hall, promising to support their opinions faithfully when he returns to the state senate.
“I treasure your ideas, your input, and your concerns.” said Pierce. “ I hope to represent you in the best way possible as we get through the difficult times, and the better times ahead.”

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