Why Progressives Should Oppose Prop 22

(Assemblymember Nancy Skinner on why progressives should oppose Prop 22)

Next Tuesday, election day will be an important day for progressives in California. A truly vital issue on the ballot may be one that we haven’t heard a lot about — opposing Proposition 22. I urge you to join the California Democratic Party, Health Access, the California Nurses Association, the Courage Campaign and a host of other organizations in opposition to this poorly conceived initiative.

Proposition 22 violates the agreement forged between stakeholders in 2004 that was approved by the voters as Proposition 1A. That measure protected local resources, but allowed the state to borrow local funds in times of fiscal crisis, fully repaying them within three years. Proposition 22 will reverse that agreement and prohibit loans for public schools, children’s health care, seniors and the disabled.

With the handcuffs Proposition 22 would put on the 2011-12 budget resolution, public schools stand to lose $1 billion immediately, and an additional $400 million a year after that. In Home Support Services that allow senior citizens and the disabled to live with dignity in their own homes and funding for health care, at a time when our safety net for children is already about to collapse, will be at risk of being cut. County health and public safety services will be eviscerated. Now is not the time to cut that safety net even more.

Proposition 22 reprioritizes state budget funding by putting redevelopment agencies in front of education, public safety, the poor, blind and disabled. This change in priorities does not reflect our progressive values.

What California needs to make our local governments, education and social services whole is restoration of the revenues that have been lost during the Schwarzenegger Administration, not guarantees that put one portion of the state’s shrinking revenue pie above another. The California League of Cities, the sponsors of Prop 22, was unable to get agreement from its Board to support new revenues so they have put forward a protectionist measure that puts a host of state services at risk.

I agree with hard protections for locally enacted revenue, but Prop 22 goes much further to the detriment of our values.

I ask that you oppose Proposition 22 to protect our progressive values and the services California’s most vulnerable citizens rely on most.

For information please visit the No on Proposition 22 Website. www.votenoprop22.org