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Thread: California on the verge of meltdown; Governor proposes eliminating welfare.

  1. #1
    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Default California on the verge of meltdown; Governor proposes eliminating welfare.

    Poor would be hard hit by proposed California budget cuts

    The governor suggests dismantling welfare programs for families and ending CalGrants for college students.

    By Eric Bailey and Patrick McGreevy
    May 22, 2009

    Reporting from Sacramento -- With deficit forecasts growing darker by the day, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is considering a plan to slash California's safety net for the poor by eliminating the state's main welfare program, health insurance for low-income families and cash grants to college students.

    The stark proposal surfaced in testimony by the administration at a joint legislative hearing Thursday that followed the governor's decision to withdraw a week-old plan to borrow $5.5 billion to help balance the budget.

    Officials in Sacramento began to bore in on the crisis Thursday, with the nonpartisan legislative analyst saying the deficit may already have ballooned to $24 billion and offering skepticism about some of the administration's plans for closing the gap.

    At the same time, lawmakers and the governor had to contend with negative signals from Washington, where officials offered little hope they would agree to guarantee billions in emergency short-term loans, even if massive spending cuts can be quickly enacted.

    It added up to a sense of anxiety as lawmakers rushed to cobble together a spending plan before the state runs short of the cash it needs to pay bills in July.

    To balance the books, Schwarzenegger is eyeing the dismantling of the state's CalWorks program, which serves more than 500,000 poor families with children, as well as the elimination of Healthy Families, which provides medical coverage to 928,000 children and teens. Mothballing the two programs would save the state about $1.4 billion in the coming fiscal year, officials said.

    If the proposals to slash the safety net come to pass, they would completely reshape the state's social service network, transforming California from one of the country's most generous states to one of the most tightfisted in aiding the poor.

    Also potentially on the chopping block is CalGrants, a financial assistance program that offers cash grants to lower- and middle-income college students each year. The governor's proposal would eliminate the 77,000 new grants awarded each year at a cost of $180 million, but that saving would eventually grow to more than $900 million as students graduated and the program was phased out.

    Schwarzenegger is considering big cuts to other programs and departments as he struggles to downsize state government after Tuesday's voter rejection of nearly $6 billion in funding measures.

    Among the possibilities is a 10% reduction in court funding as well as slashing $600 million from state universities and $750 million from the state prisons, mostly from programs designed to rehabilitate inmates.

    The governor's aides said the proposals, laid out during the opening session of three weeks of planned legislative hearings to shape the state's deficit solutions, remain ideas under consideration.

    Though nothing is in concrete, Sacramento is running out of solutions. "We have very few options left," Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said, adding that it is "very likely" that the new cuts will make the final list.

    Advocates for the poor said elimination of those health and welfare programs would come at a steep price. Tens of thousands of families and children would be stripped of temporary financial help and health assistance, and the state would lose a huge pool of federal money that pays the majority of the program's costs.

    Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, said federal dollars cover up to two-thirds the cost of the Healthy Families program, which is for the working poor. The federal government pays about 58% of the cost of CalWorks.

    "It's beyond draconian," Wright said. "It's insane. Not just for dropping 1 million children from healthcare, but also for losing substantial federal funding."

    One of the top Democrats on the 10-person legislative panel charged with shaping the state's deficit reduction plans also expressed frustration with Schwarzenegger's proposals.

    "Unexpected twists make for good Hollywood stories but bad governance, especially in a time of crisis," said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa).

    Though eliminating whole programs for the poor is "theoretically" possible, Evans said during the hearing Thursday, "I don't know if it's tolerable."

    Another member of the legislative committee, Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), called the governor's proposals "horrifying" but said all options need to be put on the table so the public can see what may happen if there are no increases in revenue.

    Republicans, however, say the state has sunk into a deficit quagmire in part because of a tax-and-spend philosophy and over-regulation of business brought on by the majority Democrats.

    "I'm a little [upset], frankly, that we've gotten ourselves into this crisis," Sen. Bob Dutton (R-Rancho Cucamonga) said during the hearing, adding that the state needs to avoid new taxes or borrowing that passes the current woes on to future generations.

    Schwarzenegger, meanwhile, said the state now has few options but to make tough cuts to match plummeting revenues not seen in a decade.

    "Our revenues now are back to the 1999 level," Schwarzenegger told reporters after a morning prayer breakfast in Sacramento. "So we have to do drastic measures. We have to dial back to what was happening in 1999."

    There was other grim news, as federal officials delivered a sobering response to the state's pleas for short-term help to pay its bills. Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner raised doubt that he has the authority to guarantee the loans California needs to avoid running out of cash in the next few months.

    In Sacramento, state Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor said the continuing slump in revenue could mean the governor's forecast of a $21.3-billion deficit might be $3 billion short, meaning the chasm between revenue and spending could be at $24.3 billion or more.

    He also said some of Schwarzenegger's plans might not work. Taylor expressed doubt about the proposed $1-billion sale of a state-owned workers' compensation insurance program and a plan to save $750 million on the state's costly Medi-Cal program by cutting healthcare reimbursements or slashing the number of eligible participants.

    Taylor also emphasized a need for the Legislature to "make the difficult decisions" and act quickly, which would "likely boost the confidence of the public and investors in the budget process" as well as prevent the anticipated cash crunch in early July.

    Poor would be hard hit by proposed California budget cuts - Los Angeles Times

    Cannot believe this.

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    Elite Member DeChayz's Avatar
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    Leagalize pot. Tons of tax revenue. Problem solved.

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeChayz View Post
    Leagalize pot. Tons of tax revenue. Problem solved.
    And gay marriage. They'd be up to their ears in revenue from the marriage licenses.

    Oh and it would help if they didn't have special elections every other day that cost the state millions and millions of dollars and are usually voted down anyway.

    The state is a MESS. I have no idea what is going to happen.

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    Elite Member Sweetie's Avatar
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    I agree with elimating health insurance for low-income families.

    If I have to break the bank to pay for it, so should they.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    ^ are you so poor that it's either health care or food on the table or a roof over your head?

    You're not that poor. You have an internet connection. Your bank isn't broken.


    it's always the poor that get fucked over
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Oh excellent, starve the poor and create thousands more poor by putting them out of their government job. Brilliant.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

    http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic4098_9.gif Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

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    They just need to institute new taxes on tanning beds and fake boobs. Then they'll be all set

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    A Valtrex tax should cure all their woes and then some...
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

    http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic4098_9.gif Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

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    Elite Member Cali's Avatar
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    I found some more info on other cuts. Arnie is getting all crazy!

    'The governor also wants to raise money by selling some state assets, such as San Quentin State Prison, and charging an emergency response fee to homeowners in wildland areas.

    The governor acknowledged his cuts will be painful. They include cuts to in-home care for Alzheimer's patients and layoffs for thousands of teachers.

    Schwarzenegger already had proposed deep cuts, including laying off 5,000 state government employees and reducing general fund payroll by 10 percent. Billions of dollars would be cut from K-12 schools, potentially shortening the school year by a week, while financial aid for college students would be reduced.

    The CalWORKS welfare-to-work program and Healthy Families, which provides low-cost health insurance for children, may be eliminated. Funding for state parks would be greatly reduced, and some boards and commissions consolidated or eliminated.

    Schwarzenegger also wants to transfer 19,000 inmates who are illegal immigrants to federal custody, saving $182 million.

    State Budget Hammer to Fall Today | NBC Bay Area
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget proposals to shorten the school year and increase class sizes will force California teacher unions to make the same tough decisions that other employee groups have faced recently:

    .....Right now, state law requires a school year of at least 180 days. Schwarzenegger's proposal calls for temporarily changing the law to allow districts to cut the school year to 173 days for the next three years. Each district and its union would decide whether to shorten the year.
    California weighs cutting school staff and pay | ScrippsNews
    Great! Our education system is already failing and he wants to SHORTEN the school week?!

    And it gets better. Also in his budget, 'A decrease of $248 million for CAL FIREís emergency fire suppression expenditures.' Which makes TOTAL sense for a state that is world-famous for epic wildfires.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    just declare it utterly bankrupt and sell it to the chinese

    game over.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    This is a bad idea. We shouldn't be eliminating health insurance for nearly a million CHILDREN.

    I know kids on the Healthy Families program. It's for kids whose parents do not have any employer health coverage, are under a strict lower income (and it's damn near poverty) and haven't been insured for at least 3 months. This includes kids that can't get private insurance because of health problems!!!

    I don't agree with this shit at all.

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    Elite Member greysfang's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    just declare it utterly bankrupt and sell it to the chinese

    game over.

    Excellent idea, its going to fall to the ocean floor shortly anyway.
    FUCK YOU AND GIVE ME MY GODDAMN VENTI TWO PUMP LIGHT WHIP MOCHA YOU COCKSUCKING WHORE BEFORE I PUNCH YOU IN THE MOUTH. I just get unpleasant in my car. - Deej

    http://www.gossiprocks.com/forum/signaturepics/sigpic4098_9.gif Healthy is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

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    Elite Member DeadDwarf's Avatar
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    Yeah, I need to move the fuck out of California. I am stuck though because my husband refuses to move and we own a house.

    Although the house isn't a problem at all because I bought it cheap. I could rent out my house and even after I pay my property taxes, astronomical sewer charges and HOA fees, I would still have enough to pay the rent on an out of state house!

    California sucks so bad right now... and let's not talk about public schools. I am still sick to my stomach and have no idea what I am going to do about my kid's education....

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    Elite Member Mr. Authority's Avatar
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    Yeah let's just shit on the poor and those on welfare. Obviously they're all too lazy to get a job, breed babies for fun, and live off of people's tax money. They deserve to rot for not being born into wealth or in a multi-million dollar mansion. Who cares if they starve and die off? Its their fault an entire state is broke even if there are a BUNCH of over-paid suits running around with a thumb up their ass. /sarcasm/


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    Silver Member mama mia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sweetie View Post
    I agree with elimating health insurance for low-income families.

    If I have to break the bank to pay for it, so should they.

    I agree with you 100%
    mama mia*
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. - William Arthur Ward

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