HEALTH ACCESS ALERT
Saturday, February 21st, 2004
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO PASS REAL BUDGET REFORM NOW?
* Vote YES on Proposition 56!
* Summary of Provisions
* Why Health Care Consumers & Advocates Should Support Prop 56
* Actions Needed to Help Pass the Budget Accountability Act on March 2nd!
* Letters to the Editor
* Phone Banking and Precinct Walking
* Tell Your Friends, Family, and Neighbors
As a way to encourage timely and responsible budgets, Health Access
California, and many other health advocacy organizations have joined with
the League of Women Voters, AARP, California State PTA, California Council
of Churches, and over 100 other organizations in support of Proposition 56.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS
Proposition 56 (THE BUDGET ACCOUNTABILITY ACT) will:
• HOLD LEGISLATORS ACCOUNTABLE
Legislators won’t get paid their salary, per diem expense and car allowance
for each day the budget isn’t passed – if they don’t do their job, they won’
t be paid. The Legislature hasn’t met their constitutional deadline since
• FORCE LEGISLATIVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE BUDGET
Requires the Legislature to stay in session–-until they pass the budget.
Passing a responsible budget on time is the Legislature’s most important
• REFORM THE BUDGET PROCESS AND ENDS GRIDLOCK
Changes the vote required to adopt the state budget and related tax
legislation from 2/3 to 55%. Currently, Rhode Island and Arkansas are the
only other states to routinely require a vote of 2/3 or more to pass a
budget and the federal budget is passed by just a simple majority. The 55%
required by Prop 56 will require broad approval consensus and will help
break the gridlock we face today.
• GIVE VOTERS THE FACTS THEY NEED ON THE BUDGET
Gives voters better access to their legislators’ votes on the budget and
taxes. Prop 56 requires the official ballot handbook to disclose how tax
dollars are spent and if taxes are raised along with a website where voters
can find out how their legislators voted on the budget and tax bills.
• REQUIRE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
To curb deficit spending, Prop 56 requires the Legislature to set aside a
mandatory reserve fund of at least 5%, so that extreme budget cuts and tax
increases will be less likely in a weak economy.
• MAINTAIN ALL OF PROP 13’S PROPERTY TAX PROTECTIONS
WHY SHOULD HEALTH ADVOCATES SUPPORT PROPOSITION 56?
Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy
coalition, is one of several dozen organizations that strongly support this
reform of budget process. Why are health advocates making the passage of the
Budget Accountability Act a high priority?
* LATE BUDGETS HURT REAL PEOPLE: When the budget is late, many health care
providers don’t get paid, from community clinics to independent living
centers. Seniors, people with disabilities, and families that rely on these
providers face the uncertainty of having services suspended and cut off. In
the extreme, some providers, many of which are small nonprofits that depend
on regular revenue streams, face being shut down. Proposition 56 would allow
the legislators to understand the urgent need for timely passage of the
budget, and would force them to focus on that goal.
* DECISIONS DELAYED MEANS CRUELER CUTS: The proposed health care cuts in the
current budget crisis are devastating: steep cuts to community clinics and
hospitals, hundreds of thousands denied basic health coverage, and millions
more losing access to key services. The current legislative gridlock
prevented early action a year or two ago, and has made the potential
solution even more severe. With Proposition 56, if legislators make budget
decisions that impact our health care, they will be more accountable for
* HEALTH NEEDS GROW AT THE SAME TIME THE BUDGET SHRINKS: Economic recessions
shrink the budget as well as cause California families to rely more on
public sources of health care. The number of uninsured families increases,
causing greater enrollment in Medi-Cal and Healthy Families and greater use
of community clinics and hospitals. Without a “rainy day” fund, we will
continue to seek cuts to the health care system at exactly the time when it
is needed most.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO SUPPORT PROPOSITION 56?
With a week-and-a-half to go, supporters of the Budget Accountability Act
need to be active to get their friends, family, and neighbors to vote YES on
Prop 56! Here are three suggestions. More are at http://www.yeson56.org.
* LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
* WRITE YOUR OWN LETTER: There’s still time to submit a quick letter to
your local newspaper in support of Proposition 56. Use the points above, or
make your own, to indicate why you support the Budget Accountability Act.
You can respond to an article in the paper about the budget, or just start
by saying “I am sick and tired of late and irresponsible state budgets, I
support Proposition 56….” PLEASE WRITE A LETTER TO THE EDITOR BEFORE
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 25TH. The letters to the editor page is often the
most-read part of the newspaper.
* GET OTHERS TO WRITE LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.
* PHONE BANKING AND PRECINCT WALKING:
PRECINCT WALKING: Have a weekend day to help out, and take a nice stroll in
your area? Precinct-walking typically takes place on Saturdays and in some
cases Sundays, and is a fun way to get out and about and distribute
information about Proposition 56.
PHONE BANKS: Organizations around the state are hosting phone banks, and
welcome anybody that wants to join them! Groups typically have phone banks
going on in the early evenings (from 5:30pm or 6pm until 8pm or 9pm) on
Monday through Thursday, although some locations have a couple of nights or
even include Sunday.
GET OTHERS TO PARTICIPATE: Help get your organization’s members to
FEEL FREE TO CONTACT THESE LOCATIONS FOR PHONE BANKING AND PRECINCT
LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles): Call Ericka Smith, 213-368-8609
CONTA COSTA (Martinez, Pittsburg): Call 925-261-0225 or 925-228-0161
MONTEREY BAY (Castroville, Monterey): Call Steve Gonzales 831-840-5947
SANTA CRUZ (Santa Cruz, Watsonville): Call Lyndsay Butler 831-840-4373
SAN FRANCISCO (San Francisco): Call John Kosinski at 415-503-5747
SANTA CLARA (San Jose): Call 408-266-3790
SACRAMENTO (Sacramento): Call Martha Phillips 916-442-3838 or 916-927-9772
ALAMEDA (Oakland): Call 510-869-2253
(Fremont): Call 510-744-4340
(Hayward): Call 510-632-4242
Other Northern California locations: Tai Milder, 207-650-0710
Other Southern California locations: Tracy Zeluff 213-738-8408
TELL YOUR FRIENDS:
* HAVE YOUR ORGANIZATION SEND OUT INFORMATIONAL MATERIAL ON PROPOSITION 56
to its members.
* TELL YOUR FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND NEIGHBORS about why passing Proposition 56
is so important.
* SEND A QUICK E-MAIL TO FRIENDS AND COLLEAGUES to let them know you are
planning to vote for Proposition 56. You can include this E-mail alert, or
link to the campaign website, at http://www.yeson56.org.
Anthony E. Wright
Health Access California
1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921