We would congratulate Ana Matosantos on her promotion, as Governor Schwarzenegger named her his new Director of Finance earlier this week, but given the budget situation, condolences may be more appropriate.
We have worked with Ana for years, from when she staffed for Senator Deborah Ortiz on one of the first bills to prevent hospital overcharging, to her time staffing health legislation working for the Governor’s office. She emerged as a smart and tough-minded negotiator for the Governor in the final efforts in late 2007-08 to pass a state health reform measure.
She has served this Governor loyally; no one should mistake her appointment as a signal of the content of the budget, despite the facts that she is the first Latina to hold the post, her Democratic beginnings or familiarity with health and human services. All indications are she will be a familiar face for a truly awful budget, given not just the severity of the budget situation, but the direction that the Governor has taken in the last year against the additional revenues needed to prevent cuts, even proposing to eliminate Healthy Families, CalWORKS, and other key health and human services.
What might be in the next budget that the Governor will announce sometime before January 10? We will likely revisit and even go beyond the cuts that were rejected last year as too severe–and given the cuts that were made, that’s saying something. Some of those cuts had literally life-and-death consequences.
Much more on the budget to come…but for the moment, congratulations and condolences to Ms. Matosantos.