SACRAMENTO, CA —Democratic women legislators rallied with impacted women and grassroots supporters at the State Capitol today, calling on the governor to stop targeting women, children, and students with the pain of cuts to balance the budget. They also urged the governor to postpone his trip to China and stay in the state until a fair and responsible budget is enacted.
Assemblymember Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) and Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) were the lead-off speakers for nearly a dozen women lawmakers and crowd of supporters who criticized the governor for dismantling the infrastructure, institutions, and services that made California great.
“We reject the governor’s dead-end vision for a decayed state,” said Evans. “We insist on a budget that invests in the people of California to forge a path out of this economic depression to better and brighter days.”
"For decades Californians worked together to build great public institutions – schools, colleges and universities, roads, bridges and health clinics – and we all prospered,” said Hancock. “We had a thriving economy and were a magnet for the nation. The only thing worse than not having a budget would be to pass the governor’s budget, which would continue to dismantle those public investments and public institutions.”
Rally participants called the governor’s budget cuts and program eliminations short-sighted and destructive to the state’s economy and social stability. His cuts to K-12 education risk losing another 35,000 teachers and school employees and increasing class sizes. His cuts to healthcare risk peoples’ lives. His elimination of safety net services – such as CalWORKS, adult day health care, and in-home care – will destroy the public systems that have served us all well and add thousands to the unemployment rolls. See enclosed material about how the governor’s cuts target women, children, and students.
Senator Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) spoke about the demise of the California Master Plan for Education adopted in 1960, which guaranteed all qualified California students affordable access to the California State University or University of California and access for all to the community colleges for career and educational advancement. “We’ve already experienced 30 percent fee increases and thousands of students turned away – over 30,000 students at CSU alone in the last two years - as a result of cuts to higher education,” Liu said.
Speakers dismissed the extreme Republican view that we can pass a “cuts-only” budget. A comparison of the Democrat-backed conference budget and the Republican-backed modification to the governor’s May Revision is attached. After closing a $40 billion deficit last year, cutting the current $19 billion deficit means cutting another 20 percent of our state’s General Fund, equal to the amount California spends on corrections and higher education combined.
The crowd at today’s rally included real people already suffering from state budget cuts. According to the assembled women legislators, some cuts may be needed to close the remaining budget deficit, but a “cuts-only” budget that targets women and the next generation is not an option. A budget agreement must be balanced with shared sacrifice in order to be fair, just and responsible, and everyone must be willing to share in rebuilding our state.