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Progressive Organizations Urge Federal Government to Help Prevent Massive Cuts to Vital Services


(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, the California Department of Finance released new data projecting a $54 billion state budget deficit through June 2021. In response, several organizations that make up the Building the California Dream Alliance issued the following statements:

“Without major federal financial aid, this state budget shortfall threatens cataclysmic cuts to health and other vital services–at exactly the time during a pandemic when we need them the most. The magnitude of the fiscal impact of the COVID19 crisis is massive, and if states don’t get federal help, the resulting cuts will mean many will lose access to care and coverage, and also further exacerbate the economic crisis we are in.

“Every state, including California, will desperately needs federal aid, which is best done as a bigger and longer increase in Medicaid matching funds. California did the right thing and built a strong budget reserve over the last ten years, but even our state will need significant help from the federal government, just as states have needed in past economic downturns.” said Wright. “Congress needs to take urgent action to help states prevent catastrophic and counterproductive cuts, that would otherwise stymie our recovery efforts – both for our public health and our economy.” 
– Anthony Wright, Executive Director, Health Access California

“California’s financial reality is a reflection of what families across the state are facing and feeling. Low-income and middle-income families, and low-wage workers have been on the front line and have felt the worst effects of this pandemic. These same families and workers will be disproportionately impacted by budget cuts to core services and will continue to be on the front lines of the climate crisis if we do not move forward in a way that continues to fund critical programs. That is why the state needs to prioritize and invest in integrated programs that create new, union, family-sustaining jobs, but also protect us against the climate crisis and advance public health as well. These projects improve the efficiency of public dollars and help us prepare for things like wildfire season while recovering from this pandemic. These are the tried and true solutions that move us forward on rebuilding an economy with public health, safety, and welfare in mind. Investments in transforming our transportation infrastructure, expanding clean energy, and building resilience in cities and across landscapes do just that. Budget cuts are not the solution to move us forward. In times of crisis we not only see true leadership rise, we also see creativity and innovation at an all-time high. And that is what we need right now, a federal and state government focused on addressing this moment with an eye towards the growing reality of the climate crisis, catalyzing innovation, and integration across the state. That is not only the potential, it is also what is necessary to save lives and livelihoods down the road. We are eager to partner with the Legislature, the Newsom administration, and California’s powerful federal delegation to make this a reality.” 
– Mary Creasman, Chief Executive Officer of the California League of Conservation Voters (CLCV) 

“The $54 billion deficit projection isn’t just a shocking number – it reflects the devastating human toll of the coronavirus on the people of California: lives lost, jobs lost, savings wiped out, and an unprecedented human need still ahead of us. The cost of fighting the virus in our hospitals, nursing homes, public health systems, businesses and residences is still mounting. Meanwhile, we need to make massive investments to avoid another wave of human calamity – hunger, poverty, and homelessness. We need to be able to create jobs, save small businesses here in California, and invest in infrastructure that will help us recover.

“The projected deficit is a powerful flare that lights up the dangers ahead, and we know that the dangers will not be faced equally. Working families, immigrant families, and communities of color are facing higher rates of unemployment, small business loss, housing insecurity, and hunger. We are facing a catastrophic crisis of inequality. 

“On behalf of the 700,000 workers who care for our sick, our most vulnerable elders, children and families, we wholeheartedly support Governor Newsom’s request for $1 trillion in federal support to states and local government in delivering these vital services and blunting an even greater recession. We must not repeat the mistakes of the Great Recession, where a pullback in public investment accelerated the economy’s downward spiral. 

“Throughout this crisis, California has been a beacon for the nation with our smart and science-based approach to fighting the virus and in the unprecedented and bold investments we’ve made in cushioning the blow for families. Now is a time to redouble our commitment to a Recovery for All with the proven path of stimulus instead of austerity. That starts with securing the federal support needed to protect the dignity and opportunity all California families deserve.” 
– Bob Schoonover, President, SEIU California and SEIU Local 721

“It’s essential that California’s budget deficit not be solved by cutting core services to Californians who are suffering the most from the economic depression. This depression has already highlighted inequities in our economy. The worst thing state leaders could do would be to increase those inequities through core services cuts.

“This deficit also highlights how important it is that the only government entity that can borrow—the federal government—move quickly to do so and provide budget help to state and local governments. Without that help, the country will sink into a depression, just as it did after the 1929 stock market decline when an inept president who refused to help was in power.

“The biggest barrier to help right now are Republican members in the U.S. House and Senate. It’s time for Republicans in California’s delegation to step up and help their home state and their constituents. They need to support funds to keep California afloat.” 
– Kathryn Phillips, Director, Sierra Club California

“Any attempt by California or other states to cut programs will lead to immense human suffering, and deepen and lengthen the recession. Cuts will worsen income inequality and harm people who are already most marginalized in our society.

“Those disproportionately impacted by COVID and its economic implications — primarily Black, Latinx, and low-income people (many of whom are essential workers on which California relies), are the same people who will be most negatively impacted by state cuts, if that’s the route California takes. That is absolutely unacceptable, and it is not the correct strategy for California For All.

“This is an extraordinarily difficult time, and we appreciate the tremendous responsibility the Governor and Legislature has right now. But it is our responsibility at Western Center on Law & Poverty to protect the Californians with the lowest incomes who bear the brunt of the economic burden in this state.

“The only priority the Legislature and Governor should have right now is to protect every PERSON who lives here — from the pandemic, from homelessness, from hunger, and from financial ruin. The overall economy comes second, human lives come first.

“It’s time for Washington to accept their responsibility and pass state relief now. Congress must enact a fourth Coronavirus response package ASAP, so states aren’t forced to make cuts that will turn this recession into a full blown depression.” 
– Western Center on Law & Poverty (WSLP)

“Our state and our individual communities cannot afford a tidal wave of budget cuts to vital programs and resources upon which all Californians depend – but particularly our state’s most vulnerable citizens during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our courts in particular have been struggling to recover from past budget cuts that seriously destabilized a cornerstone of our democracy. From everyday citizens to our biggest businesses, society depends on the effective operation of our courts. New funding cuts would slow civil justice to a crawl, impacting the livelihood of citizens across the spectrum. We urge the federal government to put aside politics and step up with financial assistance to states across the nation suffering under the yoke of the coronavirus pandemic. A swift and effective recovery depends on maintaining the operational vitality of states. Without it, the fiscal malaise will almost certainly outlast the viral threat.” 
– Micha Star Liberty, Consumer Attorneys of California

“In the face of an unprecedented budget crisis, California must continue to lead when it comes to supporting communities of color and low-income communities. Inequality is the biggest threat to our economy and our society. We must not shortchange important investments in equity, such as expanding health care coverage, health benefits, and paid leave for the communities who continue to bear the brunt of COVID- 19 impacts. We thank Governor Newsom and the legislature for their continued leadership and their partnership with the Federal administration in bolstering our budget and our ability to keep our promises to those most severely impacted.” – Kiran Savage, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) 

“As California faces an unprecedented $54.3 billion deficit due to COVID-19 impacts, this budget shortfall is a potential threat to funding for safety net programs that are critical for the health, and safety of our communities. Historically, low-income, Latino and immigrant communities have faced disproportionate impacts as a result of disinvestment and lack of prioritization. The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California calls on the Governor and State Legislature to preserve existing health, food and housing programs that the most marginalized in our State urgently need to protect our safety and promote healthy communities for all.”  
– Jeffrey Reynoso, Executive Director, Latino Coalition for a Healthy CA 

“In a time of crisis, those with the most should pay their fair share. California small businesses and low income families are hurting the most, while corporations like Amazon and billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Jack Dorsey continue to exponentially increase their wealth. As California projects a budget shortfall due to COVID-19, we will not stand for austerity measures on the backs of immigrants, people of color, and working families as the rich get richer. We call on Governor Newsom to look to the wealthiest Californians and Corporations that do business in California to close the budget shortfall and to invest in working families.” 
– Paulina Gonzalez-Brito, Executive Director, California Reinvestment Coalition 

“The announcement of the state’s revenue shortfall by the Department of Finance, sadly but predictably, opened a conversation about potential cuts to vital services and programs. The members of ACCE Action want to be clear that cuts are simply not an option. For people most in need, a consideration to cut services is a low blow insult added to a grave injury because the very people who have been deeply harmed by the economic crisis are those who rely most on the services that will be threatened. Retired, unemployed, low-income, and working class people are struggling to survive the health and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially within Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. In reality, cuts are a cruel form of taxes on our most vulnerable neighbors, friends, and essential workers. The reality is that someone is going to be asked to foot the bill for the economic fall out of this public health crisis. This country and state has a long history of balancing budgets on the backs of those least able to bear the weight. It is morally reprehensible to ask vulnerable communities to pay through budget cuts while American billionaires have become $280 billion richer since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. The state government must not entertain a discussion to cut programs and services, because that will only deepen the recession and force millions more Californians into poverty and homelessness. Instead, they, and we, need to focus our energy on demanding Congress and the President step up and immediately pass the proposed $1 trillion relief package for state and local governments.” 
– Abdullah Muhammad, Co-Chair of the ACCE Action Board of Directors

“CalNonprofit’s top priority has always been to advocate for sufficient public investment in our communities and in the nonprofits that serve and speak for them. The pandemic makes it even clearer that California’s nonprofits are central to the services supply chain that can keep our communities healthy and thriving. We are a vital part of the state’s economy, generating 15 percent of the Gross State Product and employing more than a million Californians.

“As a voice for California’s 120,000 nonprofits, CalNonprofits stands with members of the California Congressional delegation and Governor Gavin Newsom who are insisting that Congress and the President immediately pass a $1 trillion relief package for state and local governments.

We support government budget and fiscal policies that provide the resources required to equitably and adequately sustain all Californians. To adequately protect Californians from the immense harm this pandemic has wrought, California must not cut the state budget and must continue to push for significant and immediate financial help from the federal government. With adequate federal support, California can avoid damaging budget cuts and can implement policies that maintain and strengthen the government-nonprofit partnership crucial to providing the services and programs California’s communities so desperately need.” 
– Jan Masaoka, CEO, CalNonprofits

“The California Dream is one where people can come together from all walks of life to make things better for their loved ones and for future generations. California State and federal leaders must protect that dream. Black, brown and Indigenous communities have always been denied the resources we need to be healthy and are also the most impacted by COVID-19. Programs that support these communities must not also be on the chopping block when it’s time to balance the budget. It’s time the federal government and our state leaders keep our families safe regardless of where we come from or how much money we have.” 
– Tim Molina, Sr. Political Strategist, California Donor Table

“Since the turn of the century, California has experienced two major recessions beginning with the dotcom bust. By all accounts those recessions will pale in comparison to the economic peril now facing our state and the nation. 

“While Washington has moved to ease the economic misfortunes suffered by businesses, states –who are on the front lines of the pandemic – are facing steep declines in revenue while the demand for government services increases. Without federal help, the recession will result in deep cuts to schools, health care and social services. Moreover, cuts in state spending will negate the economic impact of federal stimulus programs to get our economy moving again. 

“Most importantly, when essential safety net services are reduced in order to balance the budget, the pain falls disproportionately on the most marginalized California residents who are already suffering the worst effects of the pandemic and the recession. Even when the economy recovers, it can take years, if not decades, to restore essential services. 

“We must not balance the state’s budget on the backs of our most vulnerable residents. The Friends Committee on Legislation of California urges a state budget that protects – not further harms –California’s poor and middle class. To the California Legislature we say “no cuts,” and we enthusiastically join with Gov. Newsom in seeking $1 trillion in federal aid directly to the states.” 
– Friends Committee on Legislation of California

“Voices for Progress members are part of our economy’s top 1%, but they recognize that the United States is not an even playing field for everyone, and are ready to step up and do their part to repair our economy. That’s why they are calling on the legislature to refuse to balance our economy on the backs of the most vulnerable Californians by cutting our social safety net when it is needed most. It would be a grave injustice to take away needed aid and services from those who are already being hit the hardest by Coronavirus and the resulting economic crisis, many of whom are frontline workers. Further, Voices for Progress calls on the federal government to pass the National Association of Governor’s bipartisan request of $1 trillion for funding to states and local governments as soon as possible, so Californians can get the relief they so desperately need and deserve.” 
– Sandra Fluke, President, Voices for Progress 

“With the announcement of a 55 billion dollar deficit in the California State 2020-2021 Budget, Advancement Project California knows we are looking toward difficult times. We cannot support cuts to essential programs. Therefore, we urge Federal support to mitigate the impact on our most vulnerable communities.

“Advancement Project California recently released a rapid response interactive report on How Race, Class, and Place Fuel a Pandemic, which displays how COVID-19 has brought America face-to-face with its pervasive inequities. What we see in the news about a flattening of the curve may be true for wealthier whites, but that is not the case in low-income and Black and Latinx communities. We must act now and with the full support of California’s leadership.” 
– John Kim, Executive Director, Advancement Project California. 

“Today’s announcement by the Department of Finance projects that California will see a massive deficit in our upcoming budget. CEJA is a statewide alliance representing thousands of low-income and historically disenfranchised residents across the state. We urge the Newsom Administration and the Legislature to protect essential programs for all Californians. We also call upon the federal government to support sending additional financial resources to state and local governments to help us avoid significant budget cuts at a time when our communities desperately need additional support.

“Significant budget cuts will surely extend the economic recession California is experiencing, and will hurt the most impacted members of our society the hardest. Now more than ever, the Legislature and Governor must prioritize the health and well-being of Californians by preserving vital programs that will help achieve those ends. CEJA is committed to engaging with lawmakers and the Governor throughout the development of the June workload budget and in future trailer bill development to ensure that this upcoming 2020-2021 budget prioritizes the health and well being of all California residents, and look forward to continuing to collaborate as we plan for a just and green recovery.

“CEJA further calls on the Congress and the President to immediately pass a $1 trillion relief package for our state and local governments. It is time for Washington to accept their responsibility and pass state relief now, and it should be done without conditions.” 
– Diana Vazquez Ballesteros, California Environmental Justice Alliance and CEJA Action

“Over the last two months, California has served as a model for states attempting to navigate this crisis, but the COVID-19 pandemic has made even more glaring the inequities embedded in our healthcare system and economy at large. The last thing Californians need right now is for those inequities to be further exacerbated by cutting funding to essential services.

“The federal government has a responsibility to meet this unprecedented moment by protecting our most marginalized communities, who have already been disproportionately burdened by this crisis. To meet the basic needs of the American people, Congress must pass a relief package that sends significant funding to state and local governments.

“As California plans for the future, it is imperative that we continue to lead by example when it comes to ensuring that our most vulnerable communities are given the support and resources they need. This includes, at minimum, expanding paid leave for workers, removing cost-sharing for essential healthcare services — including abortion care — and repealing medically-unnecessary requirements such as physician supervision for nurse midwives.” 
– Shannon Hovis, Director, NARAL Pro-Choice California

“No matter who we are or where we come from, we all want to live healthy, thriving lives. The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly shown us that the health and well-being of one of us is dependent on the health and well-being of all of us. It has also revealed that historic disinvestment in low-income communities, Black communities, immigrant communities and tribal communities has left these communities vulnerable to greater sickness and death. This is not an accident. Policy decisions over the past four decades that have prioritized benefits to corporations and the already-wealthy, while at the same time underfunding health clinics, safe housing, sick leave and public education have put communities at risk in this pandemic. 

“This is not a choice we have to keep making. In the midst of this health crisis, we do not have to repeat the mistakes of the past. We can choose to focus on providing the backbone of support – health, housing, income – that hardest-hit communities need, and ensuring that we all pay our fair share to make it happen.  

“Historic moments call for bold leadership. The Governor has already shown tremendous leadership in the face of unprecedented times. But we can’t stop now. California will come out of this stronger than ever if we, together, harness our innovative, risk-taking spirit and fight for bold solutions that move us forward, not backward.

“We call on the Governor and the Legislature to courageously represent us: your farmworkers, grocery store clerks, janitors, school teachers, parents, grandparents, students, clergy, nurses, and so many more. Only by representing together can we come through this difficult time.” 
– AAPIs for Civic Empowerment-EF, Coalition for Humane and Immigrant Rights, California Calls, Orange County Civic Engagement Table, PICO California, Power California, San Francisco Rising, Orange County Civic Engagement Table


The Building the California Dream Alliance includes: ACCE, Advancement Project, American Civil Liberties Union of CA, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), Black Women for Wellness, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, California Attorneys For Criminal Justice (CACJ, California Calls, California Donor Table,  California Low Income Consumers Coalition, California Domestic Workers Coalition, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), California Environmental Justice Alliance, California Food & Farming Network , California Labor Federation, California Immigrant Policy Center, California League of Conservation Voters, California NOW, California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Responsible Lending, Child Care Law Center, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA), Consumer Attorneys of California, Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA), Courage California, Disability Rights California, Drug Policy Alliance, Earth Justice , Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, Environment California, Equality California, Equal Rights Advocates, Friends Committee on Legislation of California , Health Access, Latino Coalition For A Healthy California , Lutheran office of Public Policy, MALDEF, Mujeres Unidas, NARAL Pro-Choice California, NextGen California , PICO California, Planned Parenthood Affiliates of CA, PolicyLink, Power California, Public Advocates, SEIU California, Sierra Club California, Smart Justice, UFCW, Voices for Progress, Young InvinciblesWestern Center on Law & Poverty

Courage California, formerly Courage Campaign, works to unite communities organizing for progressive change, fight the forces of corruption, and hold our representatives to account in order to ensure that California’s elected officials act with courage. Our community of members envision California as a model of progressive, equitable, and truly representative democracy that sets the standard for our country.


Angela Chavez