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i went to bed at 11 and tossed and turned and finally got up. what was bothering me? the governor's proposed state budget, of course. i needed to get up and write an email to all my friends about it. could not sleep until i engaged in some political activism.



Hey guys-

This is a bit dry, I know, and I doubt that any of you woke up this morning hoping that today would be the day you'd finally learn more about the Governor's Proposed State Budget. But Arnold recently released his budget proposal for 2005-06 and it is simply atrocious. This stuff is just as important to daily life in California as national politics is, if not more, and we've got to do something with all our blue-state political energy. So I urge you all to read this, think about it, and hopefully take some action as suggested below..

But first, here are some frequently asked questions about Arnold's Proposed Budget for 2005.

Q: Are there budget cuts in this year's budget?
A: Yes. And good thing, as Arnold is facing a state deficit of $9.1 billion - a 40% increase from when he took office from Davis.

Q: Wow. It sounds like he needs to make a lot of cuts. But since Arnold campaigned on fighting 'special interests', I bet a lot of the cuts target corporations and the super-wealthy, right?
A: Actually, no. The cuts target low-wage workers, working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Q: That doesn't sound right. Tell me what cuts take on the special interests!
A: None of them do. There are no tax increases for corporations or the super-wealthy. In fact, Arnold is proposing that corporations pay property taxes at a reduced rate, while private homeowners continue to pay property taxes at the current rate. He's proposing to increase corporate tax credits over the next 10 years.

Q: Well he must have at least proposed some programs that special interests disagreed with.
A: Actually, no. For example, a plan was proposed to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for low-income families and people with disabilities by importing the drugs from Canada at low costs. That plan was strongly opposed by the drug companies -- who were large contributors to Arnold's campaign and paid for him to attend the Republican National Convention. Instead, Arnold is proposing a plan that would cut costs by making agreements with drug companies for lower cost drugs -- but drug companies are not required to participate nor given any incentive to do so.

Q: So what are these cuts that affect low-wage workers and working families?
A: One of the major cuts is a reduction in welfare grant amounts. His proposal would prevent the yearly increase to adjust for inflation and would cut grants across the board. At the same time, he would raise the cost of health care for those families

Q: Will that have a big effect, though?
A: It will. Currently, the average low-wage worker in a family in LA County pays 60-80% of her income for house. People who pay over 50% of their income for housing are considered at risk of homelessness. The grant cuts are big enough to significantly raise the number of people at serious risk of homelessness.

Q: They can just go stay in a shelter, though, right?
A: The proposed budget also cuts funding for emergency shelters.

Q: That sounds like it will save money in the short term, but make things a lot worse in the long term. But Arnold's not all bad -- I bet he is supporting people who need unemployment benefits.
A: Well, his proposal does increase funding to the agency that gives unemployment benefits. But the new money doesn't increase or extend benefits -- it's earmarked to increase fraud investigations.

Q: Yikes! And there are cuts for the elderly and disabled, too?
A: Yes. Arnold is making cuts to the program that allows the elderly and disabled to hire people to care for them in their homes, instead of moving to a nursing home that would cost the state more money. He's also eliminating a tax credit that helps elderly and disabled people pay their rent.

Q: I know there's one program Arnold won't cut. He was an immigrant when he came to this country and became a citizen through naturalization, which allowed him to run for office. I bet he wants to help other immigrants become citizens so they can follow in his footsteps.
A: Arnold's proposal completely eliminates that program.

Q: So can you sum that all up for me?
A: Sure. Arnold won the election on a platform of fighting against special interests. Instead, in balancing the budget, he has done absolutely nothing that would ask corporations and the super-wealthy to increase their share. Instead, he's requiring sacrifices from the state's working families, low-wage workers, elderly, and disabled. He's taking from them the few extra dollars that could mean the difference between having a home and sleeping in a car, between being able to afford prescriptions drugs and going without, between making it and not making it. It is intolerable to put the burden of the deficit only on their shoulders, while reducing the burden on those most able to bear it.

Q: Now I am depressed. Please tell me what I can do!
A: I am so glad you asked! Here are some action steps you can take:

1. Forward this to friends, family, co-workers, etc. Or write your own e-mail to them urging them to get involved. It would be a shame to let their blue-state indignation and frustration go to waste.

2. Call and email your elected officials! When you do this, be sure to let them know that you think the proposed budget is intolerable. Be specific about what makes you dislike it and what you would like to see changed. Include your address so they know you're a constituent.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
916-445-2841 -- capitol office
213-897-0322 -- Los Angeles District office
governor@governor.ca.gov
or send email at http://www.govmail.ca.gov/

You can find your legislators by entering your zip code at http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/yourleg.html, but here are my best guesses based on where y'all live:

It's likely that your Assemblyman is Paul Koretz - check his homepage at http://democrats.assembly.ca.gov/members/a42/ to make sure.
(916) 319-2042 -- capitol office
(310) 285-5490 -- district office
Assemblymember.Koretz@assembly.ca.gov

Your state senator is either
Sheila Kuehl
(916) 445-1353
(310) 441-9084
email at http://democrats.sen.ca.gov/servlet/gov.ca.senate.democrats.pub.members.memDisplayFeedback?district=sd23

or Kevin Murray
(916) 445-8800
(310) 641-4391
email at http://democrats.sen.ca.gov/servlet/gov.ca.senate.democrats.pub.members.memDisplayFeedback?district=sd26

3. For super extra credit, write a letter to the editor! These letters reach a ton of readers.
LA Times: letters@latimes.com (include address and telephone number)
LA Weekly: letters@laweekly.com (include phone number)
Daily News: email at http://www.dailynews.com/Stories/0,1413,200%257E21664%257E,00.html
Sacramento Bee (read by all the state legislators): opinion@sacbee.com (include address and phone number).

If you made it this far, thanks so much for reading and thinking about these issues. Let's keep our state as blue as possible!

abby.

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thatabbygirl: graffiti art of an anthropomorphized spray paint can, scowling (Default)
thatabbygirl

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