HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

REPUBLICAN BUDGET PLAN CONSIDERED; BUDGET DIVISIONS GROW SHARPER

On Sunday, June 6th, after about four hours of debate, the full Assembly voted down the budget presented by the Assembly Republican Caucus, on a party line vote of 27-45. Assembly Budget Committee Vice-Chair John Campbell remarked that it was the first time in recent memory that a minority party was allowed to bring “a complete and total budget bill” to the floor. He argued that it was only a 4.2% decrease in spending from last year’s budget, and that it protected priorities of “education, public safety, and transportation,” and put “people ahead of bureaucrats.”

ATTACHED is a UPDATED BUDGET CUTS SCORECARD that includes the status of the selected proposed cuts in both the Governor’s May Revise and the Assembly Republican Plan. This includes updated details and clarifications on the Assembly Republican Plan.

The debate was sharp, with Assemblymembers Chu, Jackson, Cohn, Frommer, Goldberg, Oropeza, and others specifically deploring the steep health cuts that the Assembly Republican plan would entail. Many talked about cuts in other areas, from human services to education, from funds for foster care burials to the delay in having children enter kindergarten. Others complained that many of the cuts were unallocated, and thus not specific enough to show the real impact, either in savings to the budget or in the change in services.

Half of the Assemblymembers ended up speaking during the debate, twenty from each party. Of the Assembly Republicans, the following spoke, in favor of the Republican plan and the cuts contained within: Campbell, Mountjoy, Leslie, La Suer, Strickland, Bates, Bogh, Haynes, Runner, Plescia, Aghazarian, McCarthy, Maze, Wyland, Samuelian, La Malfa, Houston, Keene, Pacheco, and Minority Leader Cox.

Of interest and in a break with party lines, five Republicans abstained on voting for the Republican plan, including Bonnie Garcia (R-Cathedral City), Shirley Horton (R-Chula Vista), Keith Richman (R-Northridge), Lynn Daucher (R-Brea), and Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria). Others Republican members that voted for the plan but did not speak during the debate include: Maddox, Nakanishi, Cogdill, Dutton, Harman, Benoit, and Spitzer.

All Democratic members voted against the plan, except for Canciamilla who abstained, and Firebaugh and Ridley-Thomas who were not present for personal reasons.

BUDGET ACCOUNTABILITY ACT HITS THE STREET

On Thursday, July 3rd, a coalition of organizations declared “Independence from Budget Tyranny,” and announced support for the Budget Accountability Act, to hold legislators accountable for timely and responsible budgets. Decrying that legislators were not working through the holiday to pass what is already a late budget, the groups discussed their push to put the Budget Accountability Act on the March 2004 ballot. For more information about the initiative, go to www.budgetaccountabilitynow.org.

GET PETITIONS: Petitions are on the street, and Californians for Budget Accountability is looking for help in collecting the more than 600,000 signatures needed. If you or your organization can help gather signatures between now and mid-August, contact the Cristina Uribe at the campaign at 916-443-7817, including if you want to receive petitions for circulation.

JOIN OTHER SIGNATURE-GATHERERS: You and/or your organization can also link up with other volunteer signature-gathering operations, with Health Access California and other entities. For example, SACRAMENTO ADVOCATES are enthusiastically invited to meet with other volunteers EVERY SATURDAY MORNING until August 16th, 2003, at 9:00AM at the Sacramento Central Labor Council, 2840 El Centro Road, Sacramento, CA. Those who come will get a quick training and be sent with others to key “hot spots” in the region to gather signatures. For more information, contact Ali Cooper, at 916-541-4810., or ali@sacramentolabor.org.



Anthony E. Wright

Executive Director

Health Access

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

awright@health-access.org

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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