News Reports: Schwarzenegger’s Budget Plan Will Hurt the Weakest Californians

The New York Times report following the release of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s budget plan yesterday summarized the harsh facts succinctly: “Mr. Schwarzenegger … has proposed eliminating the state’s $1 billion welfare program for families with children, ending a $126 million health insurance program for children, reducing the state’s Medicaid eligibility to the minimum to save over $500 million, and ending the state’s network of subsidized home health care providers for the poor.”

The best Californians can hope for is that the governor is bluffing—threatening to inflict pain on the helpless in order to goad the federal government into a bailout. According to the Times, he said as much: “The state might avert the worst of such a scenario, the governor suggested, if the federal government comes up with $6.9 billion that he claims it is owed, either through fixing accounting errors and shortchanging, or through the rejiggering of federal formulas to benefit the state.”

Writing in the Merc, Denis C. Theriault points out that Schwarzenegger is “counting on $7 billion from the federal government to ward off yet another doomsday financial scenario.” Theriault also notes that that unlikely scenario would be small consolation: “Even if more federal money does flow to the state, Schwarzenegger is still proposing billions in cuts to health and human services programs, with $1.1 billion coming from Medi-Cal.”

Theriault goes on to quote Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County’s CEO, who says the cuts will trickle down to already-burdened local governments, and will “make county taxpayers more responsible for services that should be a state obligation.”

Mayor Chuck Reed, who has been openly critical about both federal and state budget matters in recent months, also attacked the governor’s plan:  “’It’s the same old budget gimmicks,’ [he said], noting that the San Jose Redevelopment Agency stands to lose $13 million next year through Schwarzenegger’s efforts to shift some redevelopment funding to Sacramento.”

11 Comments

  1. So, over the decades, both parties grow government spending by the billions, frequently by selling bonds that will ultimately have to be paid with interest. Then when the bill for the orgy of spending comes due, they plead poverty and make cuts that will hurt the “weakest Californians.” Well, if government doesn’t get its spending under control, everybody in the state will be a weak Californian.

  2. ” Schwarzenegger’s Budget Plan Will Hurt the Weakest Californians”

    Doesn’t it always hurt the ones most who don’t have the money to fight back? I fear for the senior and disabled people who will lose in home care, and medial. It is very sad indeed.

    • > It is very sad indeed.

      Kathleen:

      I’m sure we’re all sad that you’re sad.

      I’m sad when I am reminded that I am among the ever shinking minority of people who are taxed to alleviate your sadness.

      Can you think of a way to be less sad without making me more sad?

  3. Is this actually a New York Times story?  Or just a parody of a Times story?

    “God decided it was time to end the world, so He held a press conference to make the announcement.  Reporters heard the plan, and then rushed the stories into print.”

    Variety:  “God says: ‘It’s Over!’”

    Wall Street Journal:  “World to End Thursday.  Markets Close Early”

    New York Times:  “World Ends.  Women and Minorities Hurt Most”

    • Accurate observation. (You old cynic you!)
      If The New York Times decided to do a “story” about today’s sunrise, the headline might read: “Big Light in Sky Scares Minority Groups in Sector G!”

      • John Galt- the budget cuts and increased taxes aren’t aimed at just the “minority” they are aimed at the majority, not the rich.

        • There are many folks who believe that it is the job of government to support those who cannot or will not work, and those who have more kids than they can possibly support, and those who live in an area where the cost of living exceeds their ability to support themselves and their kids.

          I am not one of those folks.

  4. Mayor Reed really has no room to undercut how the State is handling their budget problems.  He’s gamed the system too – one-time fixes, cost deferrals, advertised cuts to high profile services e.g., libraries, etc.

  5. I think the direness of the state’s budget problems should not make us lose sight of the fact that the safety net is there for all of us in the state. 

    Over a decade ago my brother because quadriplegic.  His employer provided health insurance paid out over $750K, but that went away 18 months after he stopped working.  A decade later, a combination of SSI and IHSS costing the federal, state and local government less than $2,400 a month allows him to stay out of a nursing home at a far greater cost.

    The fundamental question with all social service programs is how to deliver services to the deserving.  I do not think any one of us want to live in a society without a safety net to catch us.  In an instant, a rainy day on a slick freeway can toss us in that net no matter how responsible we live our life.

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