Tuesday, January 11, 2011
In his first proposal for the new budget year, Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown made a case for steep cuts to essential services that would affect poor Californians, including refugees and immigrants.
SAN DIEGO San Diego, like the rest of California, will face severe cuts to social services if Gov. Brown’s proposed budget is approved
The budget plan would cut $1.5 billion from welfare, and $1.7 billion from Medi-Cal, the state's Medicaid program.
Services for the developmentally disabled would also be trimmed by $750 million, and the University of California system would face a cut of $500 million, even though it’s already in the red.
California Immigrant Policy Center director, Reshma Shamasunder, said she’s especially concerned about the impact the budget cuts will have on poor and immigrant children in the state.
“For example, eliminating the vision benefit for children, increasing premiums, increasing co-payments -- these are all families that are already really stretched," said Shamasunder. "So to place this additional burden on them is going to be really, really difficult.”
Shamasunder added that the Governor’s proposal didn’t specifically target social services to immigrants or refugees. But she said these communities will ultimately be affected and should be encouraged to speak out about the proposed budget.
“Certainly with immigrants and refugees, there’s always a fear of using these programs because they’re afraid it might impact their immigration status," said Shamasunder.
"But I think (it is most important to speak) out in the coming months, that the governor and policy makers have to take into account the well-being of all Californians.”
Every day, hundreds of thousands of Californians rely on state and local programs for job training, childcare, and in-home support services. The budget proposal suggests deep cuts to welfare and Medi-Cal -- two important services for the poor.
Elsewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border, states face especially challenging budget crises: Arizona has a $825 million gap while Texas is facing a a $27 billion shortfall.