Farmer, Yoga Studio Owner & Other Businesspeople Team Up

(Fresno, CA) – A broad range of Fresno business owners — from a farmer to a yoga studio owner and more — gathered today to urge valley legislators to protect jobs and get California working again by supporting Governor Brown’s balanced approach to California’s budget.

The Fresno business leaders who spoke at today’s a press conference in front of Sen. Tom Berryhill’s Fresno office are among the California families, seniors, parents, teachers and public safety officials who have put aside their differences to support Governor Brown’s plan to close the state’s budget gap.

“Valley farmers know that the prosperity of our business is closely tied to the prosperity of our community, our ability to fund police for safe communities, and our investment in our children’s education. That’s why it is imperative that California straighten out its current budget mess and protect core functions like education and public safety, ” said Emin Dhaliwal, a local farmer. “We are counting on Senator Berryhill, like his father before him, to break through the political gridlock and do what’s right for California and his district.”

A large tractor parked in front of Berryhill’s office demonstrated that farmers are among the broad group of Fresno business owners who support Gov. Brown’s balanced approach to the budget.

The Governor’s plan includes cuts already signed into law that will start to go into effect in the coming weeks. The plan also includes a proposal to maintain existing revenues to protect schools, colleges, and local law enforcement from cuts that would hurt businesses in Fresno and statewide.

Partisan gridlock has held up the proposal to extend existing revenues, despite business organizations like the California Chamber of Commerce supporting a budget that includes both cuts and revenues and pointing to partisan stalemate as an obstacle to job creation and economic recovery. The California Small Business Association, California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Valley Industry and Commerce Association are among the business associations who have supported a balanced approach to the budget.

“I challenge our leaders to break the gridlock in Sacramento because political stalemate sends the wrong signal to the financial markets. Without a clear plan to pay California’s bills, investors think California bonds are a risky bet, which drives up California’s cost to issue bonds necessary to build infrastructure. Both of which are essential to a healthy economy,” said Arlie Rogers Jr., financial advisor and businessman. “We need a balanced approach with controlled spending and extending our tax revenue. We can’t do this with cuts alone; the massive layoffs that would result from an all-cuts budget will mean more foreclosures, more small business closures, and the possibility of stalling our economic recovery. I urge our legislators to pass Governor Brown’s plan to protect jobs so California can get working again.”

Budget cuts made earlier this year and in recent years have already done damage to education and other public services so vital to California’s future economic strength:

  • Education has absorbed $18 billion in cuts in the last 3 years. As a result, schools have made deep cuts in every classroom. Class sizes are climbing, and the school year statewide is shrinking.
  • $1 billion was cut from University of California and California State Universities this year. If deeper cuts are made, higher education leaders say our universities and community colleges will have to turn away more than 400,000 qualified students.

If existing revenues are not maintained, another $15 billion in cuts will lead to widespread job losses and damage to California’s future:

  • Cuts to education could be between $4 and 5 billion this year, according to one scenario developed by the Legislative Analyst’s Office. That means tens of thousands of additional layoffs and a school year shortened by up to 30 days in some districts.
  • A recent University of California study found that $1 billion cut from the cost-effective home care program that keeps frail seniors and people with disabilities safe in their homes and out of more costly nursing homes would result in 216,000 jobs lost. For every $1 billion in cuts to Medi-Cal, 40,000 people would lose their jobs.

“Our community is strongest when we stick together and support each other, and that’s why I’m urging our legislators to come together to support Governor Brown’s balanced approach. More cuts will put middle class folks like teachers and librarians out of work, and that hurts everyone in our community, including small businesses like ours,” said Joanne Bazarian, co-owner of Perfect Balance Yoga. “We need our legislators to come together to maintain current revenues so we can invest in our children and the quality of life we all want.”

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