Budget

SEIU Members Refuse to Accept Widespread Poverty as California’s New Status Quo

Sacramento, CA – Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California released the following statement from President Laphonza Butler following the release of Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed fiscal year 2015-16 budget proposal today:

“With the leadership of Governor Brown and the deep sacrifice of millions of Californians, we have taken great strides to put our state on a path to a better future since the depths of the Great Recession with greater investments in education and healthcare. But the 700,000 members of the Service Employees International Union in California do not accept a new status quo that allows one in four Californians to live in poverty. Together, we call on the Governor and Legislative leaders to make 2015 the year California examines the roots of our poverty crisis and forges the solutions needed – from birth to bedside – to renew the California dream for every person in our state.

“While the governor’s budget proposal raises ‘Addressing Poverty and Inequality’ as a priority, it calls for little critical analysis and leaves virtually no hope for the Californians who live the reality of poverty every day: single mothers struggling to access child care, low-wage workers scrambling to put food on the table, and caregivers barely able to keep their families afloat. For these struggling Californians, the size of the cracks in the safety net is the only thing ‘extensive’ about it.

“In this his last and historic term, the Governor, and our state legislative leaders, have a rare opportunity to chart a bold and prosperous path for ALL of California. This means investing in essential services and people at every stage of life – from ensuring every young person has the early education needed to thrive in school and life to ensuring our elderly can live with dignity.”

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SEIU local unions in California are made up of over 700,000 health care workers, janitors, social workers, nurses, security officers, in-home caregivers, school and university employees, court workers, and city, county and state employees

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SEIU California Lauds Assembly Budget Blueprint

Forward thinking-plan invests in our state’s future strength

Sacramento, CA – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California issued the following statement from President Laphonza Butler upon the release of Assembly Speaker John Pérez and Budget Chair Nancy Skinner’s forward-thinking budget blueprint for 2014-15:

“After years of austerity budgets that led California in the wrong direction, we are encouraged to see a turn-around plan for our state that prioritizes the critical investments we need today so our state can thrive tomorrow.

“Improving Medi-Cal access is a smart use of health care dollars that puts the focus on keeping Californians healthy and reducing chronic care costs. Giving working families tax relief and supporting parents as they transition from welfare to work represent a strong economic boost for our state.

“Most importantly, this budget plan recognizes that when it comes to building a strong state for the future, we’re all in this together. The Speaker’s plan wisely invests in educating our children from pre-school through college. Long overdue investments in early childhood education are the foundation needed to ready young minds to absorb their K-12 studies and beyond, while reducing the social costs of poor educational attainment.

“SEIU members stepped forward when our state needed us, enduring painful cuts to the services we provide to our communities, and volunteering our time and resources to pass Prop. 30 to secure the revenues needed to stop the cuts and invest in our future. We applaud the Speaker and Assemblymember Skinner’s forward-looking vision and look forward to working with them to flesh out the blueprint in our effort to address our communities’ needs. As the budget process moves forward, Californians can count on us to be champions for smart public services, such as home care, that save money even while improving lives, and for investment in the next generation.”

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SEIU local unions in California are made up of over 700,000 health care workers, janitors, social workers, nurses, security officers, in-home caregivers, school and university employees, court workers, and city, county and state employees.

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Trigger Cuts Are Bad Medicine for California’s Struggling Middle Class

Extremists’ Refusal to Support Revenue Forces Cuts That Californians Don’t Support

Sacramento, CA – The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) California released the following statement from Laphonza Butler, President of SEIU ULTCW, the United Long Term Care Workers’ Union, on today’s announcement of trigger cuts:

“Trigger cuts are exactly the wrong medicine for a middle class that is shrinking and an economy that is still stalled, and Californians know it. Unfortunately, the intransigence of a minority of extremist legislators who refused to vote for revenue in the last budget is now forcing the state to make even more devastating cuts to schools, universities, working families, and seniors.

“There is something profoundly wrong with a political system in which a minority committed to representing a narrow set of interests time and again overrules the wishes of the majority. In 2012 we plan to break this cycle so we can once again invest in our children, take care of our seniors, and rebuild our state.

“It’s time for those who benefit the most from the investments we all make together to pay their fair share to help this state recover and start working for all of us again. Fortunately, in 2012, Californians will have the opportunity at the ballot box to break the political gridlock and secure much-needed new revenues.”

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Over 700,000 Californians make up SEIU in California; we work throughout the state, in all 58 counties, and we represent California in all of its diversity. We are social workers, nurses, classroom aides, state workers, security officers, college professors, home care workers, janitors, and more.

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Farmers, Professors, and Others Deliver a Message of Courage to Senator Cannella

“Doing the right thing isn’t always easy, but we’re counting on you.” That’s the message of courage more than 250 Modesto-area residents delivered to State Senator Anthony Cannella’s office on Thursday.

I was one of hundreds of people from all walks of life who gathered at the Modesto rally to ensure Cannella hears directly from his constituents about what is most important to us: education, safe communities, and caring for seniors and young people.

Joining educators like me at the event were seniors, public safety officials, farmers, and others who have our share of differences, but who know getting California back on track is so important we have to come together to protect our shared priorities.

But protecting those priorities will be impossible if State Senator Anthony Cannella doesn’t show the courage to prevent current revenues from expiring June 30. If those revenues are not maintained, another $9.6 billion in cuts will be made, ON TOP of the devastating cuts those communities across California have already suffered: massive layoffs of teachers, leaving classrooms crowded. Police and firefighters laid off, threatening our safety. College courses cut and tuition soaring, pricing middle-class students out. Adult Day Health Centers shuttered and home care stripped away, putting thousands of seniors in danger of being forced into nursing homes.

Senator Cannella is one of several Republican legislators who are under increasing pressure from extremists not to support a compromise in order to protect schools and colleges, public safety and health care for seniors from more cuts.

These extremists are radio personalities and Washington, D.C. political operatives. They don’t have our interests at heart, they aren’t the ones who have to worry about our kids getting through school, or looking out for our parents and grandparents who have paid their dues over a lifetime. Senator Cannella is the one who is supposed to represent us, and it’s time he showed the courage to do what’s right.

I have no doubt that it’s hard to be in Senator Cannella’s shoes these days, with the extremist shock jocks in L.A. threatening to put pragmatic legislators “heads on a stick.” But Senator Cannella is supposed to represent us, not the entertainers and ideologues who don’t care at all about our community and have no relationship to Stanislaus County and its needs.

California is in crisis and we can’t take any more cuts to public safety or education, which is our ticket to a brighter future. We’re counting on Senator Cannella to show the courage to do what’s right. No more cuts!

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SLO Residents to Achadijan: If extremists win, California loses

San Luis Obispo residents are looking for leadership — and answers — from Assemblymember Katcho Achadjian.

At Thursday’s rally, dozens of families, seniors and students urged Achadijian to protect local seniors, schools and public safety from the devastating cuts by voting for a balanced state budget.

If current revenue levels aren’t protected, San Luis Obispo County could face $25 million in education cuts alone. Cal Poly professor Dr. Jim Conway wants the Assemblymember to stop standing behind GOP rhetoric, and Stand Up for California:

“We’re calling on Assemblymember Achadjian to stop hiding behind generalities and abstractions and tell us where he would make the cuts locally. Which courses would he shut down at Cal Poly? How many teachers in our local schools should be laid off? How many deputies should the sheriff’s office lay off, and which cases should the D.A. stop prosecuting? If you’re going to vote for deeper cuts, have the courage and character to look us in the eye and be specific about the local consequences.”

By refusing even to maintain already existing revenues, Achadjian’s approach to the budget would force $10 billion more in cuts – pulling the rug out from under vulnerable seniors, slashing law enforcement even as crime is rising, and chopping up to a month off our kids’ school year.

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Fresno families pay Berryhill a visit

In Fresno, three generations had one message for Senator Tom Berryhill: Stand up for our children’s future, and stop the extreme cuts.

Thursday’s news conference in front of Berryhill’s office featured dozens of grandparents, parents and children who detailed the impact that existing cuts have already had on Central Valley classrooms. Fresno County schools have already faced cuts of more than $1000 per student, and face additional cuts of $139 million next year. In addition to larger class sizes, schools may be forced to cut short short the school year by up to 30 days.

Fresno area senior Grace Solis says it’s time to stop punishing kids.

“Our kids didn’t create the budget mess in Sacramento, but they’ve sure been paying for it. Classes are bigger, so it’s harder for them to learn. Music, sports, and extra-curricular activities have been cut, so their educational experience is not well-rounded. As bad as these cuts are, if Senator Berryhill stands by and lets critical funding for our schools expire, these cuts will grow even worse.”

Thresa Ward, a Fresno grandparent of three, agreed.

“My grandkids deserve better than to be packed into classrooms like sardines. But that’s the direction California is headed if we don’t stop the cuts right now.”

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Santa Clarita to Smyth: Listen to your parents

Valley families are suffering. Public safety, education, and essential services that so many residents count on have already had devastating cuts. And without action, it could get a lot worse.

That’s why parents and other community members paid a visit to Assemblymember Smyth’s Santa Clarita office on Tuesday to talk about how the budget cuts already made have taken a heart-wrenching toll on their families and the communities Smyth represents. And it could get worse unless existing funding is maintained. A lot worse.

Locally, five school districts in the Santa Clarita area stand to lose $764 per student — that’s over $23,000 per class of 30 students. Things like tools and supplies for higher learning, responsible class sizes and important teacher support staff could be at risk.

An all-cuts budget this year will force billions in additional cuts to California schools, which will result in tens of thousands of additional layoffs and shorten the school year in many districts by as much as 30 days.

For local parent Lori Christian, that doesn’t add up.

“Chopping a whole month off the school year for K-12 students and turning young people away from higher education is no way to build a strong economy We are urging Assemblymember Smyth to stand up for California’s future and stop the extreme cuts to education.”

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Welcome to the OC: Taking a stand for California

From the Church to the beach – Costa Mesa residents were taking a stand and delivering a strong message to Senator Tom Harman: protect our schools and beaches for the next generation and stop the extreme cuts.

The news conference in front of Harman’s Costa Mesa office brought together a diverse group of residents who detailed the potentially devastating ramifications of additional cuts to their community. Pastor Christian Parra of the Harbor Christian Fellowship called on Senator Harman to be a leader:

“We are here to pray for Sen. Tom Harman to be the moral leader California needs to protect our children’s future. A moral leader remembers that it is our calling to protect the earth we were given for our children, and to protect and educate our children – but these imperatives will be made impossible if Senator Harman stands by while another $10 billion in cuts are made to schools, children’s healthcare, and protection of our natural resources.”

Orange County schools could lose another $368 million in funding next year if the all-cuts budget is passed, putting the future of hundreds of thousands of Orange County students at risk. And trademark California beaches could be at risk too. With one-quarter of state parks already scheduled to shut down, the remaining parks — including Orange County public beaches — could be at risk in an all-cuts budget scenario. That’s something that doesn’t sit will with Shawn Wehan, lifetime surfer.

“California’s parks and beaches are public treasures that must be protected and managed to ensure they are open to all our children and grandchildren, not turned over to the highest bidder.”

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Yucaipa residents pay local leaders a visit, demand action

With budget decisions expected to be made in Sacramento in the next three weeks, local residents and community members paid a visit to Assemblymember Paul Cook’s office Thursday with a simple message. The teachers, parents, business owners and public safety officers put their differences aside and united their voice to protect their schools, seniors, public safety and their community from more devastating cuts.

During the visit, they detailed the impact budget cuts have already had on their community. Susan Adams, a local senior wants Assemblymember Cook to take a stand for seniors like her.

“Cook says he cares about our seniors, and in the coming weeks we’re going to see if his actions match his words. Another $10 billion in cuts will put every part of the already tattered safety net for seniors at risk.”

Others in the crowd called for the Assemblymember to protect higher public education. Area resident Natalie Dorado wants Cook to pay it forward:

“Assemblymember Cook enjoyed the advantages of a strong, well-funded public system of higher education in California and has even taught higher education courses here, so he understands. We are counting on him to extend the same opportunity to the younger generation.”

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Santa Cruz Banana Slugs Stand Up

Another California University is taking a stand for higher education.

UC Santa Cruz students, faculty and staff rallied on Thursday, promoting our campaign to keep the doors open to higher education to Central Coast students. Participants at the rally used mobile action stations to send letters to Senator Anthony Cannella and other legislators urging them to protect the UC system from the extreme cuts that some have been promoting as a short sighted attempt to solve California’s budget problems.

Melissa Garcia, a student at UCSC called on Senator Cannella to keep the opportunity of higher education accessible to students across the state.

“My parents knew that education was the only way for our family to get out of the fields and on the path to the American Dream of a middle-class life. We’re here today to ask Senator Cannella to stand up for students from Hollister, Salinas, Livingston and other towns in his district for whom college is the only way out of the cycle of poverty.”

At the rally, Alum Sandino Gomez worried about the consequences of gutting the funding to California public higher education.

“The dream of higher education was passed down by my family who instilled in me a work ethic and an appreciation for education because they wanted a better future for the next generation. If we don’t maintain the revenues the Governor is proposing, I worry that California will have squandered the precious gift of a world-class university system that has been passed down from generation to generation.”

Following the event, rally participants drove to Senator Cannella’s Salinas office to deliver their message directly.

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