The legislature is expected to vote next week on California’s state budget, with big cuts looming for human needs programs, and new revenue depending on an initiative vote in November. Earlier this month the Northern California Communist Party issued the following statement on the budget crisis:
California’s Budget Crisis: What can we do?
For several years California has faced a growing budget gap, and ever-deepening cuts to human services programs millions of us badly need as we struggle with joblessness, low-paying jobs, soaring health care costs and a bank-caused foreclosure crisis that has cost many of us our homes.
Now the legislature and governor are struggling with a nearly $16 billion gap as they try to complete a 2012-13 budget by the end of June.
Why the gap?
Some of the problem has been caused by the economic crisis that has gripped our country, and the world, in recent years. Some also comes from Congressional Republicans’ repeated blockage of federal money to help the 50 states.
But much of the gap is because our state legislature can’t gain new revenue to fund the programs all Californians need: public education, health care, environment, transportation, infrastructure and more.
It now takes a two-thirds majority in the Assembly and state Senate to pass new revenues. Democrats lead the legislature but don’t have that majority.
So a Republican minority, most of whom have signed a Grover Norquist “no new taxes” pledge, can block any effort to find more funds for these programs. They can even block attempts to close big tax loopholes that let corporations get away with scamming the public out of billions of dollars.
How can we close the gap?
This November voters can act to end the Republican stalemate in California’s legislature. Just two fewer
Republicans in the Assembly and in the state Senate and they can’t block the new funds we need.
Voters can help make sure that Republicans don’t win the presidency, and that they can’t dominate the House of Representatives and stall the U.S. Senate.
Because the state legislature can’t vote more money for programs we all need, Governor Jerry Brown and the labor-community Restore California coalition are putting a measure on the ballot to temporarily raise taxes on incomes of over $250,000 and raise sales taxes 0.25 percent.
Here are some things we can all do:
• Make sure you, your family, friends and neighbors are registered to vote. Discuss the issues and candidates with them.
• Get involved to make sure the Republican far right is defeated nationally, in California and in your community. Unions and many community organizations are active in election work. Even if you’re not a member, you can help out.
• Vote to approve the Brown-Restore California initiative to tax the rich, though raising the sales tax is not a positive move.
• Support measures to end the two-thirds majority required to pass new revenue.
• Call on Congress to fully fund federal assistance to the states, and aid to programs serving human needs.
• Tell your elected officials what you think our state and nation should do, so the basic needs of all are met. Hold their feet to the fire on what’s important.