Governor Arnold Schwarnenneger's proposed budget can be fairly described as a "cuts only" budget and a job killer. California cannot afford this. According to a UC Berkeley study published in March of this year, a $1 billion cut to the state's In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) program will cost 215,000 hard-working Californians their jobs. A similar $1 billion cut cut to the Healthy Families program means 39,500 people will be thrown out of work, cuts to MediCal means a 35,900 job loss and cuts to CalWorks will cost another 23,200 jobs. And it just gets worse -- 23,000 pink slips have already been issued to California educators and 16,000 teachers and education support professionals aren't getting a paycheck.
Republicans say their number one priority is jobs. What about the jobs of the people who teach our children and care for the sick and elderly? How come their jobs don't matter? What about our classroom sizes? What about the seniors who are currently receiving health care that keeps them out of nursing homes? What about keeping our schools safe and clean? What about the children who will be left without health insurance? What about caring for the disabled?
It may be easy for conservatives to win political points by beating up on California's workers and talking about cuts, cuts, cuts, but it is important to remember that California's employees provide valuable services that benefit all of us. The reality is that California's workers are scientists, teachers, school bus drivers, firefighters, game wardens, and nurses among other things. They teach and protect our children, enforce the law, preserve the environment, care for the disabled, treat the sick, and provide other valuable services. A "cuts only" budget will hurt all Californians. In addition to looking for ways to save money, the Legislature and the Governor must look at possible revenue sources.
I have introduced the Oil Industry Fair Share Act, which will be heard in the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee on May 10th, shortly before the Governor produces his revised annual budget.
California is the third largest oil producer in the nation and the only major oil producing state in United States that doesn't have an extraction tax. This makes no sense. Texas oil companies pay $14 per barrel of oil to pay for public schools, police, firefighters and other public services. In California we receive about $4.00 per barrel -- much of which just pays for pollution and spill mitigation, not public services. If my Oil Industry Fair Share Act is enacted, it will generate $1.5 billion a year that can be used to provide critical services that many Californians depend on and often take for granted.
As the May Revision is developed, I would urge the Governor and those in the Legislature that stick to a rigid, abstract ideology to step into the real world where there is governing to do. Only looking at cuts to health care, education, and the safety net when Californians need it most is the wrong approach. We all must move out of our politically entrenched corners and start fighting for all Californians, not just special interests.