Now that the state has passed the budget for California, the Senator from the 37th District (that’s us) has offered a response. From the office of Holly J. Mitchell (pictured here with Mayor Jim Clarke) in regard to Governor’s new budget;
“I fully recognize our real-world responsibility is to manage moderate public funds prudently. Since the state’s cash flow has slowed, let’s focus on what the most urgent needs are and how to best spend our money to help those most in need.
“I submit that we’ve got our priorities wrong.
“In January, Governor Brown proposed putting more than three billion dollars into “rainy day” funds above and beyond what is required, and another 1.5 billion in infrastructure renovations.
“Infrastructure and savings are meant to meet people’s needs, not the other way around. Attributing inaction to lower-than-expected revenue isn’t an explanation – it’s an excuse.
“As we face the prospect of state revenues that do not match expectations or live up to our hopes, it is important to bear in mind how much better California is doing than five years ago – and yet how many Californians are still waiting to feel the benefits of the improved economy.
“I call upon our Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to recognize that even with less than ideal revenues, there is still capacity to do meaningful good.
“The Governor’s support for the Senate’s Prop. 63 housing proposal is heartening. Still, more can be done to help house homeless CalWORKs families and children in foster care who could be re-united with family if they had a home. These proposals are also part of the Senate’s housing plan and should be supported.
“The state’s push for adult employment makes far more sense when it’s accompanied by child care subsidies that make work possible. There are still more than 200,000 children in our state who need child care. Returning child care funding to Prop. 98 is a must because children learn the most and their brains grow the most in the first 5 years. By not investing, we allow these youths’ potential to wither.
“The testimony we continue to hear from Californians is clear and convincing that the need is great. Too many have fallen into deep poverty, that level of deprivation from which studies show few escape and almost none fully recover. Prioritized expenditures are needed this year, this session, to be directed in a pragmatic, thoughtful and creative way to relieve real want.
“People in need have names and faces. We saw and heard from many of them during their appeals for our help made in this week’s Budget hearings. They deserve dignity in a budget. If they can’t get that, we should at least look them in the eye and call them by their names when we refuse to help:
“They deserve that we look them in the eye and call them by their names when we refuse to help:
· “No!” to food assistance programs that serve families who live in our urban food deserts
· “No!” to nutrition aid helping families make tough choices in the effort to nourish growing bodies
· “No!” to those we leave to squat in shelters, instead of dwelling in permanent homes suitable for human beings trying to live decent lives
· “No!” to children in need of early care, whose capacities shrivel when we put their needs on hold
· “No!” to repeal of the Maximum Family Grant, because low-income women have no right to be mothers, their babies no right to reach their potential, and their families no right to thrive.
“It’s worse than short-sighted to ignore long unmet needs, acting as if all is well because we are no longer actively slashing-and-burning services that seniors, children, veterans and families rely on. We act as if halting injury heals the injured, as if that’s the end, instead of a beginning. That’s willful amnesia.
“Negligence is not an anonymous stalker. If we engage in it, we put our names on it. We do harm, where we can and should do right.
“Working together in response to the Governor’s call for prudence and our constituents’ call for help, we can navigate this budget to a safe harbor without throwing the most vulnerable overboard.”