Thursday, September 9, 2010

Enough is Enough on Budget

A group of Democratic women legislators rallied with impacted women and grassroots supporters at the State Capitol yesterday, calling on the governor to stop targeting women, children, and students with the pain of cuts to balance the budget. We also urged the governor to postpone his trip to China and stay in the state until a fair and responsible budget is enacted. My remarks follow.

"Thank you and welcome, everyone. Today, California enters its 70th day without a budget. As we stand here today, California is days away from having the latest budget in its history.

We are here to say enough is enough. And, we are all here today with a message for the governor. Please, governor: respect the people of California. Don’t hold them hostage. Stop targeting women and children with the pain of cuts to balance the budget. And, postpone your trip to China. Stay in the state to work with the Legislature on a fair and balanced budget agreement. Right now, nothing is more important to the people of California.

Remember the John Lennon song “Imagine?” In the recent past, California imagined. Californians dreamed. And California acted on its dreams and made a brighter future come true.

We are here today to do more than imagine. We, the Democratic women of the CA State Legislature, are here to insist. And, typical of women, we don’t insist upon much. But we do insist upon some fundamentals in our state budget.

We insist upon decent education for our children. We insist upon higher education—community colleges and universities so our people can train for jobs and for the responsibilities of citizenship—an education that is sorely needed right now. We insist upon child care so small businesses can find workers and workers can hold down jobs. We insist upon health care for our mothers and our daughters.

We reject the Governor’s notion that we Californians can’t come together and solve this problem for all of us. We reject his divide and conquer strategy. We reject his shock doctrine. We reject his dead-end vision of a decayed state. We reject his notion that wealthy and powerful corporations must enjoy enormous new tax breaks while our children go uneducated and untended. That’s just shameful. As of today, we, the Democratic women of the CA State Legislature, will no longer stand for such nonsense.

No woman is a part of the Big 5 negotiations this year. We want the Big 5 to know where we stand.

Here’s our bottom line: Last year’s budget hit rock bottom. In order to earn our vote, the budget must improve California and get Californians back to work. In order to earn our vote, the budget must fund K-12 education and higher education at last year’s levels or more. It must fund child care and women’s health care such as Every Woman Counts at last year’s levels or higher. Others, I believe, share this bottom line, but I will let them speak for themselves.

As our Governor prepares to leave tomorrow for a business junket to Asia, we want him to know that we are not leaving. We are staying put.

We’re women—we give birth to, raise and believe in the next generation. We will not fail them. We stand for a budget that foresees a brighter day for our state and helps lay the groundwork for that brighter day."