FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
Brett Abrams, CC : 516-841-1105 : email@example.com
Maurice Weeks, ACCE : 973-494-2461 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Pete Woiwode, CAP :(510) 504-9552 : email@example.com
Fred Glass, CFT : (510) 579-3343 : firstname.lastname@example.org
Hundreds Rally for $5 Billion More in the State Budget to go to Public Education, Health & Human Services
Over 30 Organizations Launch Campaign Rejecting the Governor’s Budget Proposal
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA – Saying to the Governor “it’s raining now”, mid-day on Tuesday, April 29th hundreds of umbrellas opened up on the steps of the Capitol as students, educators, parents and health & welfare advocates showed up with a 2014/15 budget proposal of their own – one that calls for $5 billion more in funding going towards the urgent needs of California’s families and children. While not rejecting the Governor’s rainy day fund or debt repayment plans outright, the group wants to see the funding to them reduced, as well as a reduction in funding for prison expansion. The group is also calling for an Oil Extraction Tax that would raise $2 billion. California is the only oil-producing state without such a tax.
A community leader and Board Chair of ACCE (Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment), Vivian Richardson, explained, “What Governor Brown seems to be ignoring is that it’s fiscally responsible to invest in the programs and services that will grow our economy, things like education and child care assistance that help people get employment and contribute to a strong state. We’re not against a Rainy Day Fund, but we also need greater reinvestment now in our schools and vital services – because it’s raining now!”
“The future of our state depends on what we do now”, said Joshua Pechthalt, President of the California Federation of Teachers (CFT). “Financial reserves are important, but only part of the picture. The needs of students and restoring programs that help the least fortunate among us should rate higher in our priorities than giving tax breaks to giant oil companies with super-profits. California should be a leader in combating growing economic inequalities, not contribute to the problem.”
Vanessa Aramayo, Director of California Partnership, added: “California has the highest rate of poverty in the country and our communities continue to suffer from years of devastating budget cuts to vital programs that help our families stay afloat. Meanwhile, the Governor has chosen to prioritize oil company profits, debt, prison expansion, and saving for a rainy day over the needs of all Californians. It’s time our leaders recognized genuine recovery starts with people, and make the investments that help build a California where we can all prosper and thrive.”
“At a time when there will be increased enrollment and access for Medi-cal patients, we need TO improve not reduce the already dismal reimbursement to providers in order to encourage more physicians to care for this needy population,” noted Dr. Paul Song, executive chairman of Courage Campaign.
Students, low income families and educators spoke to the struggles they and their communities face because the state HAS YET to come close to restoring the billions in cuts since 2008. CSU’s and UC’s are both still nearly $1 billion behind 2007/08 levels; CalWorks, $3.5 billion; Homecare/IHSS $333 million; child care $1 billion; health care $3.7 billion, and the list goes on. Prop 30 funds have not come near to restoring the $20 billion cut from K-12 schools.
Angered by the legislature’s repeated failure to pass an Oil Extraction Tax that will add $2 billion to the state fund, the group held a protest at the offices of Chevron before heading to the Capitol for this rally and press conference.
In recent weeks the Courage Campaign launched the website BigOilBeacon.com to track money state legislators are receiving from the oil industry and how they are voting on policies that would hold the industry accountable. ACCE and Common Cause released the report: Big Oil Floods the Capitol: How California’s Oil Companies Funnel Funds into the Legislature.
The over 30 organizations joining the call for $5 Billion more in 2014 include: ACCE, California Federation of Teachers (CFT), PICO CA, Health Access, Courage Campaign, California Faculty Association (CFA), California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), California Partnership (CAP), CREDO, CURB, UAW 4123, California Calls, Alameda County Community Food Bank, Bay View Newspaper, California Alliance for Retired Americans, California Association of Food Banks, California Child Care Resource and Referral Network Services, California Coalition for Women Prisoners, Community Health Partnership, California NOW, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, CLUE-LA, Dignity and Power Now, Great Beginnings for Black Babies, Inc, Grey Panthers, Human Rights of the Incarcerated, Hunger Action, Immigrant Rights and Education Network, Korean Resource Center, Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, Low-Income Self-Help Center, Parent Voices, St. Mary’s Center, Western Regional Advocacy Project, Youth Justice Coalition
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