State Budget Package is the Shame of California
Statement by California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski
“The state budget package passed today is the shame of California. The deep, unnecessary cuts included in this budget will turn the current economic storm battering families into a Category Five hurricane.
“With this budget, the Governor and Legislature failed miserably in their primary duty to protect California families. The most painful part of this budget deal is that the catastrophic cuts to education, health care, public safety, state workers and programs for children, seniors and the disabled could have been avoided.
“The refusal by the Governor and Republican leadership to even consider popular revenue sources like a tobacco tax or oil severance fee created the roadmap to the disastrous budget we’re now saddled with. The accounting gimmicks the budget deal includes scuttle any hope of long-term fiscal stability. This is not a budget of shared sacrifice; the hardship falls disproportionately on low- and middle-income families.
“At every turn along the winding road that led to this budget, the Governor sided with wealthy special interests at the expense of working families. When given the choice to support a tobacco tax or eliminate children’s health care, he sided with Big Tobacco. When given the choice to lay off thousands of teachers, firefighters and police or tax Big Oil, he sided with Big Oil. When given the choice to close corporate tax loopholes or gut job-creating infrastructure projects, he sided with wealthy corporations.
“It’s never been clearer that our system needs reform. We need to eliminate the ludicrous two-thirds majority rule that allows a small minority of ideologues to hold the state budget hostage to their narrow demands. We need to fix the state’s outdated tax system to ensure that the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. And we need new sources of revenue to ensure important programs in education, health care and other areas are adequately funded.
“Finally, we need leaders with a real vision to bolster California’s middle class and the political backbone to get the job done. California’s working families won’t soon forget this debacle and the unnecessary pain it’s caused. Today we commit anew to electing real leaders in California who will put families first and holding legislators on both sides of the aisle accountable for the actions they take.”