Op-Ed: Gov. Jerry Brown’s Spending Plan Hurts the Most Vulnerable Californians

“It’s not because I’m conservative,” California Gov. Jerry Brown once quipped. “It’s because I’m cheap.” With the reports of historic lows in unemployment and record highs in the stock market, it is unconscionable that the governor suggest stuffing even more into the already bloated rainy day fund.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 20.4 percent of Californians live in poverty. That’s higher than the national average (14.7 percent) and the highest poverty rate in the nation.

California also has the highest child poverty rate in the nation. The wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world is also home to 25 percent of the country’s homeless. The governor is responding to this crisis by hoping the voters will approve a bond in November (Veterans and Affordable Housing Bond Act of 2018).

Brown’s “I’m cheap” claim seems at odds with his revised recommendation of a near-billion dollar increase the state Department of Corrections (DOC) budget. He recommends $12.1 billion compared to the $11.4 billion in the 2017-18 DOC budget. This while he projects “a decrease of 698 (inmates) and 1,259 parolees, respectively.”

Source: ebudget.ca.gov

Also, there will be a lot fewer people locked up if the legislature passes SB 10, The California Money Bail Reform Act (which they will have to pass in order to comply with the results of a lawsuit). The bill will end the unconstitutional money bail system in California that leaves tens of thousands of people languishing in jails each year before they are convicted of any crime simply because they cannot afford to get out of jail.

Brown is being true to his claim when it come to the poor.

The 2017-18 Health and Human Services budget was $161 billion and the governor is recommending $158.7 billion because record surpluses apparently must be built on the backs of the poor. It might serve the governor (or at least the state of California) to remember what Martin Luther King Jr.  said, “Whatever comes to you in a cheap way will vanish in a cheap way.”

Source: ebudget.ca.gov

HHS Network, California Partnership, and CA4SSI are Hosting May Revise Budget actions across the state. We are calling on Brown renew his commitment to uphold the values of our state and communities.

We are calling on our representatives to end the unconstitutional money bail system in California Our diverse coalition of service providers, unions, nonprofits, and community based organizations are coming together in unity and solidarity calling for greater investment in California’s health and human services to strengthen the safety net for marginalized and low-income communities.

It is time for California to:

  • Pass SB 10 The California Money Bail Reform Act
  • Protect all immigrants by keeping their families together, safe, and healthy.
  • Repair the social safety net and preserve recent healthcare which have reduced the number of uninsured to all-time lows.
  • Pass SB562 so Californians can stop paying more to die sooner than countries that have single-payer health care.
  • Defend Medi-cal, CalWORKS, CalFRESH, IHSS, Child Care and return the SSI supplemental.

Jeff Green is a research and policy analyst for the California Partnership, an economic justice coalition of low-income residents and people of color. Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of San Jose Inside. Want to submit an op-ed? Email pitches to [email protected].


  1. You forgot to mention, Mr. Green, that California also has the most illegal immigrants, where they are educated free of charge to them, given breakfast and lunch at school free of charge to them, and crowd our hospital ERS, where they are treated free.of charge to them. Somebody has to pay for that. Now we have 1,000 more at our border who traveled a thousand miles to a country whose language they do not speak, and most never will, instead of stopping in Mexico where they speak the language. Mexico didn’t let them stay. Neither should we. ENOUGH!

  2. > Op-Ed: Gov. Jerry Brown’s Spending Plan Hurts the Most Vulnerable Californians

    In a “democracy” where the majority of voters are “foragers” who vote themselves a livelihood by sharing in the resources produced by the minority of “producers”, the “most vulnerable Californians” are the producers.

  3. “The most vulnerable Californians” will be the biggest beneficiaries of the rainy day fund during the next recession. Take a little pain now, for a softer landing down the road. Basic financial planning.

    • > Basic financial planning.

      Not for politicians.

      Basic financial planning for politicians:

      1. See a dollar.
      2. Grab it.
      3. Spend it.

      Advanced financial planning for politicians:

      1. Visualize seeing a dollar in the future.
      2. Borrow a dollar from someone right now.
      3. Spend it.

    • I agree with Thanos, though I believe the topic of SSI/SSP needs to be brought up to the Federal Poverty Level. Housing and food increases are hurting many who have to choose between healthy food or paying the increased rent.

      SSI is not only for the disabled, but for seniors who have retired and their personal income did not provide for the minimum SSA payment.

      Yes, the rainy day fund is good and will save the most vulnerable population, but in truth, as it is today, the vulnerable population will see little of the rainy day fund.

  4. [2] Protect all immigrants by keeping their families together, safe, and healthy

    Sorry Jeff, but you lost me by not including (no mention whatsoever???? where have you been Jeff?) keeping together, safe, and healthy those lifelong/decades long voting renter (and losing their homes) residents who, in Silicon Valley in particular, are being disemboweled into homelessness and replaced by non voting Legal Immigrant Renter Residents (who aren’t at threat in their own countries), many of whom I truly like but it’s not okay to force lifelong/decades long residents into homelessness by bringing in predominantly very young, predominantly male legal immigrants and their families and replace – black, hispanic, asian, over 35-40 years old, female, non tech voters – citizens who can no longer afford their rents or homes in a place where they lived and worked for decades. It’s also not okay to ensure that renters – despite currently being the majority in many, if not most, Silicon Valley cities outside of San Jose (which will change after Google has its way) – do not have a majority vote in their own communities, as they’ve been forced out by a hideously manipulative and corrupt BIPARTISAN VISA system and replaced by Legal Immigrants unable to vote against Amoral and Greedy Property Rentiers. An insidious, orchestrated, malevolent pitting of human against human for a roof over their heads.

    I’m hoping your lapse is that you’re either very young, or haven’t lived in California very long and ignorant as to California History; elsewise, I suspect you’re a financially secure, aspiring Non-ProfitThought Leader Do Gooder!™, or aspiring Politician – the likes of, say, Eric Schneiderman in ‘Blue’ NYC, or stunningly wealthy Ro Khanna in ‘Blue’ Silicon Valley (for just two of too many examples) – in Golden State™ California (who needs fiscally amoral Republicans, when there are more than enough populace betraying Democrats to fill their shoes). Historically filling third world nation cities with those Legal Immigrants from the US (which were a very selective few, from the upper classes) and displacing the lifelong forever passportless residents was not okay, neither is the reverse, which has caused an inhuman amount of citizen homelessness (and untold deaths) in Silicon Valley.

    (Getting back to Edmund II (or whatever the number in the ascendancy) yeah, Edmund ‘Jerry’ Brown is an AHole of the first order, in the Republic of California, he’s a “Republican” at ‘heart,’ like all of the other populace betraying Democrats, as was his dad. What humane governor sets up a Twitter account for their Royal First Dog™ while presiding over and abetting massive human poverty and immiseration?)

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