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Speaker Pérez Statement on Governor’s Line-Item Vetoes of Child Care Services

Wednesday, October 13 2010

SACRAMENTO – Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles), who made fighting for jobs the centerpiece issue of this year’s budget negotiations, today issued the following statement in response to the Governor’s shortsighted elimination of child care for working parents that have worked their way off the welfare rolls and into the workforce:

“With the stroke of his ‘blue pencil’ to eliminate the critical Stage 3 Child Care program, Governor Schwarzenegger terminated the jobs of 60,000 Californians and threw them into complete crisis.

“Since Welfare Reform established the CalWORKS program, the welfare rolls in California have dropped by 50 percent. This is largely due to the work requirements of the programs and the tools that are available to ensure that work is a realistic option for struggling families – available child care is perhaps the most valuable tool.

“Without Stage 3 Child Care, parents that have worked their way off of welfare but are in such low paying jobs they cannot afford the full cost of Child Care will be left with daunting choices to care for their kids: either quit their jobs and go back on welfare or leave their kids in vulnerable settings.

“Clearly, it is not in the state’s economic or moral interests to force parents back onto welfare or to force parents to leave their kids in vulnerable situations – the state simply cannot afford either outcome.

“Therefore, we are not going to simply add this to the list of all the other failures of the Schwarzenegger Governorship, instead we will fight for these families and undo the Governor’s elimination of Stage 3 Child Care.

  • The Assembly will introduce a bill that takes effect immediately to fully restore funding for Stage 3 Child Care on the first day of the new session. Since Stage 3 Child Care is an educational program, the bill will only require a majority vote. This bill will be sent to the Governor's desk on the first day the new Governor takes office;

  • Also, the Assembly will work to find ways to qualify families for other Child Care programs that remain intact and other solutions to provide a bridge for families and small businesses until the program can be restored.

“As I first stated soon after learning of the Governor’s devastating and shortsighted vetoes, it is disappointing but not surprising that the Governor would do so much damage on one of his final acts in office.

“But we will not let his child care veto go unanswered; we will fight to keep the 60,000 parents in their jobs and their kids in safe and enriching environments. Both are critical to economic interests of our state.”

Steinberg, Parents & Advocates Denounce Governor’s Cruel & Unnecessary Budget Line Item Vetoes

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

(SACRAMENTO) Senate President pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) joined parents and advocates today at a Sacramento daycare provider for a press conference to denounce the Governor’s decision to veto from the state budget nearly a half-billion dollars in funding that will have devastating consequences on California’s children, working parents, and economy.

Of the Governor’s $1 billion in line-item vetoes, nearly half single out working parents and children for particular harm by eliminating essential funding for abused and neglected children, mental health services for 20,000 students, and child care for single-parent working families.

“The Governor’s vetoes were misguided, cruel, unnecessary, and preventable,” Steinberg said. “These vetoes will place more children in harm's way, force working parents to forfeit their jobs by eliminating critical child care programs, and force more Californians who did not create our economic crisis to bear the brunt of its consequences,” Steinberg said.

“We saved a lot in this budget from the Governor’s preferred meat cleaver approach in this budget. We preserved dozens of vital programs for Californians, including health care, job training, CalWORKS, community mental health services, and In Home Supportive Services. We also increased funding for higher education and increased per pupil spending in public education; all while confronting an $18 billion budget deficit.”

“My first action in January will be to work with our new governor to immediately restore the critical investments vetoed this year,” Steinberg said.

Speakers at today’s press conference highlighted the impact of the following vetoes to the Sacramento area and throughout California:

  • Child Welfare Services -- $80 million. At least 700 social workers across the state will be laid off or not backfilled due to this cut. As a consequence, 143,000 reports of child abuse or neglect will not be investigated and thousands of foster children will not be reunified with their families. The Governor’s veto also means California will lose federal matching funds, bringing the total funding cut to this program is $133.5 million.

  • AB 3632 Mental Health Services for Students -- $132 million. Thousands of children with disabilities and mental health needs will be denied help, including children with autism spectrum disorders, children with other developmental disabilities, and mental health needs.

  • Stage 3 Child Care -- $256 million. Eliminates child care for 60,000 families statewide, including 81,000 children. It will make it even more difficult for Californians to keep their jobs, become financially stable, and provide children with a safe environment while their parents work. In Sacramento alone, 1426 Stage 3 families (90% are working) would lose childcare. 2829 children would be affected and would no longer have quality, educational child care services. 407 Child Care Providers would be impacted, losing $19 Million in child care reimbursement annually. An additional 60 families per month will lose their services as they end their 2 years after cash aid on CalWORKs Stage 2 and be placed on an eligibility list. The eligibility list for child care in Sacramento County already has over 3000 income eligible children who are not being served and waiting.

Throughout the budget negotiations Senate Democrats urged the Governor to consider sensible tax reforms and suspension of previously authorized corporate tax breaks that have yet to be implemented. Further, the Governor and Republican legislators insisted on $200 million in new corporate tax breaks as a condition to reaching a budget agreement. If the Governor and legislative Republicans had embraced either one of our reform proposals or suppressed their desire to provide new corporate tax breaks, none of the Governor’s vetoes would have been necessary to achieve the budget reserve he created. Instead, all Californians will be forced to endure the devastating economic and personal consequences of the Governor’s choices.