United Ways of California Reacts to Governor Brown's Budget Proposal
Major Changes to Health and Human Services Could Harm Children and Families with No Guarantee of Success
January 6, 2012
Los Angeles, California
United Ways of California issued the following statement today relating to children’s health, education and family financial stability in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal. The Governor’s budget contains an alarming number of major changes that will affect children and families.
“We understand California’s dire fiscal situation, and we appreciate that the Governor’s budget does not attempt to reach balance only through cuts, but the fact remains that even in the best case, this budget further jeopardizes the future of millions of vulnerable California children and their families by threatening loss of health coverage and care, increasing obstacles to self-sufficiency and shrinking educational pathways.” said Peter Manzo, President & CEO of United Ways of California.
“The proposal to shift Healthy Families children into Medi-Cal may produce significant savings for the state, but there must be greater protections in place to ensure continuity of coverage and access to care so that no children are worse off as a result of the shift. Until the state can guarantee the continued care of the nearly one million Healthy Families children once they are moved into Medi-Cal, it is difficult to support the proposal and risk children losing access to health coverage. United Ways of California believes the State can and must take all measured and necessary steps to protect our most vulnerable, the children of California, particularly in this slow economic recovery with parents still struggling.
“The Governor proposes to reduce the State’s CalWORKs caseload by 44.8 percent or 273,000 families. This cut prevents California families, many headed by low-income women, from getting the help they need to care for their children and find work that will allow them to regain their financial independence and recover from the recession.
“While the Governor’s budget largely preserves K-12 education funding at existing levels, this is dependent on the voters passing a ballot initiative in November, an outcome that is far from guaranteed. The proposal assumes the voters will approve tax increases and if not, there will be an additional $4.8 billion cut to our K-12 schools community colleges and $400 million to the UC and CSU systems. Over the next decade, it is estimated that California will need over 1 million college graduates to fill the jobs in our economy, and such cuts would make it only more difficult to meet that challenge.
“This budget calls the question of what kind of California we all want to live in - do we believe we can again provide first-class educational opportunities, comprehensive health coverage for children and individuals, effective assistance to parents struggling to support their families, and help our state be more competitive in a global economy?
United Ways of California is committed to working with the Governor and Legislature to pass a final budget that protects our children, their families and our future.”