(Visalia, CA) – Dozens of local seniors converged today in front of Assemblywoman Connie Conway’s Visalia office to show her the far-ranging and deep impact billions of dollars in state budget cuts have already had on grandparents and elderly members of our community. The group, made up of various political viewpoints urged Conway and other Valley legislators to join them in supporting Governor Brown’s balanced approach to closing the state budget gap in order to avoid deeper cuts that will hurt Californians, especially seniors.
“As much as our community is hurting, I know the character of our city remains strong. And nothing shows the character of our people more than how we treat our seniors, said Visalia City Councilmember, Mike Lane. “That’s why I’m worried about what will happen if California’s leaders don’t put aside their differences and adopt a budget that respects our elderly and their contributions to our state.”
In a Los Angeles Times report last week, Asm. Conway dismissed the impact deep state budget cuts have had on real families in Tulare County, where one in four residents lives in poverty. The Times pointed to Tulare County as among the hardest hit by cuts to services that help families get back on their feet and help poor seniors meet their healthcare needs.
At today’s news conference, the group of seniors and their families urged Asm. Conway to reconsider the far-ranging and deep impact billions of dollars in state budget cuts have already had on seniors who have been hit from every direction:
- 7.7 million Californians will feel the effects of higher premiums, caps on doctor’s visits, and fewer providers through the Medi-Cal program.
- 1.1 million seniors and people with disabilities will absorb cuts in cash payments for food and rent. These SSI/SSP benefits have already lost one third of their purchasing power over the last two decades.
- 43,000 Californians who need access to home care to stay safe at home may lose this critical service.
“Standing up for California means speaking up for the many elderly in our community who are invisible because budget cuts have taken away their independence. I want Asm. Conway to know that when support services like transportation and adult day health are gone, so is the hope of our seniors” said Fred Davis, a local senior. “I’m here to ask our leaders to respect our seniors by stopping more cuts that will push them into hunger, poor health, and despair.”
“Visalia has always been the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbors and looks out for each other, especially our seniors,” added Barbara Waldron, another area senior. “That’s what we are here to do today. To support one another and let Assemblywoman Conway know we need her to stand with us and do the right thing. We can’t afford more cuts.”
The Visalia seniors, caregivers and their families who spoke out today join a growing list of Californians who have put aside their differences to support Governor Brown’s plan to close the state’s budget gap. Educators, parents, business owners and families of all backgrounds recognize a balanced approach is needed to protect jobs and move California’s economic recovery forward. The Governor’s plan includes cuts already signed into law which will start to go into effect in the coming weeks. The plan also includes a proposal to maintain existing revenues.