|Cutting Children’s Programs: A Losing Budget Strategy|
If Governor Jerry Brown’s proposal for the state’s 2012-13 budget is adopted, low- and moderate-income children and their families will continue to suffer the greatest impact of California’s ongoing budget crisis. Proposed cuts focus on child care and CalWORKs — both already deeply cut in recent years.
These cuts are on top of the 114,762 child care spaces eliminated since 2008.
In addition, many families would be plunged deeper into poverty by further cuts in CalWORKS, after an 8% drop in benefi t levels last summer. Grants would be cut in families where only the children are on CalWORKs, and the CalWORKs lifetime limit would be reduced from 4 to 2 years. Families still on CalWORKs would suffer more penalties if parents could not meet workparticipation requirements.
These cuts are not only unfair — taking the most from those who have the least — but self-defeating. Poverty is the single biggest risk factor for children, contributing to social, educational, emotional, and behavioral problems. High-quality early care and education saves the state more than it costs, by reducing the need for spending on special education, health and mental-health care, criminal justice, and welfare.
Why is the California budget in crisis when our state is among the wealthiest economies on earth? Where is all the money?
According to the California Budget Project (CBP):
Many Californians favor tapping into the wealth of the 1% rather than cutting more vital services. When Congressman Pete Stark’s offi ce recently polled his district’s residents, 88% said they favored “asking wealthy Americans to pay their fair share in taxes.”
For now, vulnerable families face another tough fi ght in Sacramento. But Parent Voices, the whole child care community, and our legislative champions have been effective in heading off many past attempts to resolve the state budget crisis by jeopardizing the future of our children and our communities.