San Jose Community Responds to Jerry Brown’s Budget

In response to the leaking of Governor Jerry Brown’s budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, California Partnership along with California Budget for All of Us, Health Access, California Immigrant Policy Center, and Western Center on Law and Poverty organized a series of state wide press conferences and rallies in opposition to Gov. Brown’s budget.
The press conference was led off by Sandy Perry from Christian Homeless Alliance Ministry who spoke briefly about homelessness in San Jose, and how it is not addressed in Brown’s budget proposal. The speakers in order of appearance were: Katherine Bock, from Low Income Self Health Center, Lydia Rueda, from SIREN, Ruth McKinney, Richard Babcock, SSI recipient, and Katie Teague from Sin Barras.
All of the speakers were unhappy with the leaked budget proposal which increased spending for some areas such as prisons, the state’s debt, education, etc. However, there appears to be no increase for the poorer segment of the state such as the elderly, disabled and low income. This segment of the state’s population was hit hardest during the past few years of budget deficit which included large cuts in spending on programs which assisted the elderly, the disabled and low income population.
In general the speakers were unhappy with the budget for many reasons. There was a feeling that people in need such as the disabled, senior citizens and poor families were left out of the budget. Many issues were addressed such as the Affordable Health Care Act ( AHCA) and its impact on Medical. The concern was that the increase of eligible Medical recipients due to AHCA will dilute the quality of care because the State will not increase spending in proportion to the increase in eligible recipients.
Another issue addressed was SSI payment and how California has reduced its portion of payments making it difficult to survive on SSI solely. In addition, the recent federal sequestration has reduced housing assistance to many on SSI by dramatically increasing rent payments. This demonstrates the need for the restoration of state funds to make up for that portion of state funds which have been cut previously.
Gov. Brown’s budget calls for an increase in prison spending, and this was opposed to by all of the speakers who felt the money should be channeled to more needy social projects.
 The press conference ended with the singing of socially conscious songs.

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