A California Budget for Community Benefit
I’ve been having nightmares about the budget cuts and they’re seeping into my daily life (no joke). And it’s not just because I’m an organizer who talks about tax reform. The reality and impact is real! From my close teacher friends who received pink slips last week, to the Oakland libraries that are being closed, to the crazy hikes in CSU fees, to the community health clinics that are cutting services-- my nightmare of a crumbling public sector is flashing before my eyes.
At this point, no one can deny budget cuts are hitting our communities hard as California faces a $28 billion deficit and Oakland a $58 million deficit. If the California legislature or voters don’t pass tax extensions in the next year, the nightmare will only get worse:
- Between $4-$5 billion will be cut from education, which will result in tens of thousands of additional teacher layoffs and perhaps shorten the school year in many districts as much as 30 days.
- 60, 00 children will lose the child care their families need in order to keep working
- 120,000 children will be dropped from California’s Healthy Families program as a result of increased premiums
- 43, 000 Californians may lose access to the home care they need to stay safely at home
It makes me sick to know one third of the California legislature can block the adoption of tax increases or extensions. Currently, the legislature only needs four more votes (two in the Assembly and two in the Senate) to pass a budget with tax extensions. Even though the majority of the CA legislature supports tax-extensions to avoid brutal budget cuts, our budget is being held hostage by five, yes FIVE, Republicans.
Is there any hope to get out of this nightmare? Yes! Even if the legislature doesn’t pass the tax extensions, California voters may have an opportunity in November to vote for extensions at the polls. That means we need to start organizing NOW!
The time has come that we Reclaim our Revenue for the benefit of all. Soul of the City invites you to our Reclaim our Revenue Service Day this Saturday June 11th at Oakland Rising (1218 Miller St. Oakland). There will be a California Budget Crisis Teach-in and a grassroots advocacy training. We'll then knock on doors to inform Oakland residents about progressive tax solutions to our budget woes. Budget cuts will impact everyone, but it will especially hurt California’s children, low-income families and seniors.
In times like these, we need to rise up and educate our neighbors about the root causes of the budget crisis. If we don’t take action, we are doing a disservice to our future and collective community.
Enough is enough! Let's turn this budget crisis into an opportunity for change. Please join us as we mobilize to Reclaim our Revenue.