At today’s press conference unveiling the May Revise of the 2010-11 budget, Arnold Schwarzenegger said “the budget should be a reflection of California’s values.” If that’s the case, then California’s values are protecting the wealthy and the large corporations from having to contribute anything to this society while making old people and children suffer. Arnold’s California is a place where if you aren’t wealthy, you don’t deserve to have health, food, or any other form of economic security.
Today’s May Revise should be seen then as the bill for protecting the rich and the large corporations. $19 billion in cuts, particularly to health care for the kids and the elderly, and to the CalWORKS program that helps reduce child poverty, would not be proposed if Arnold Schwarzenegger valued their lives and their economic security.
Perhaps we’re being too charitable. After all, Arnold has only a 23% approval rating, so the notion that he understands California values is almost as laughably absurd as his claim that “I know how many people are suffering out there,” which has to be an outright lie given the budget he just proposed.
But Arnold’s still the governor, and until Democrats win a 2/3rds majority or eliminate the 2/3rds rule, we still have to contend with him. So it was very encouraging to see Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg react strongly against this budget.
Steinberg and Senate Budget Chair Denise Moreno Ducheny said they “won’t pass a budget that eliminates CalWORKS” and argued that we need to look at closing corporate tax loopholes, including the oil severance tax and looking at extending the tax increases enacted last spring.
Those are all the right places to begin. California’s economic recovery will continue to be stunted if these budget cuts aren’t stopped.