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As Inequality Grows, Safety Net Remains In Tatters

Courageous Leadership Needed as May Revision Excludes Millions of Californians

California Calls, a statewide coalition of community-based organizations, released the following statement from President Anthony Thigpenn in response to the 2016-17 budget revision:

“California cannot ignore the growing inequality facing our state – Governor Jerry Brown and legislators must be responsive to the needs of the most vulnerable. While the budget continues to prioritize building the rainy day fund with a voluntary contribution of $2 billion, millions of Californians are still waiting for their rainy day to end. Timid leadership in Sacramento also leaves counties and cities scrambling to provide basic necessities and services.

“Fear of the next economic recession and decline in revenue speak to the need for long-term solutions to fully fund services and expand the safety net. By closing the corporate property tax loopholes created by Prop 13 and requiring corporations and wealthy commercial property owners to pay their fair share in taxes, the state can raise over $9 billion annually for the local services and programs people are struggling without.”

“Until our elected leaders take bold action, we must seize every opportunity to invest in critical services. The new budget proposal misses an opportunity to support local diversion, mental health treatment and trauma recovery services by failing to adopt the Legislative Analyst’s Office formula for Prop 47 and it misses the opportunity to help lift families out of poverty by failing to repeal the Maximum Family Grant, a policy that punishes poor families for having children.”

“For too many Californians the sun is not shinning as brightly in the golden state. California’s new electorate has adamantly called for investment in services, turning out in record numbers for Prop 30 in 2012 and supporting Prop 47 in 2014. By 2018, California Calls and our allies will help mobilize 1 million voters for permanent solutions, but it will take the Governor and Legislators to join us in creating budgets that honor voter wishes and provide the services we need.”


California Calls is a growing alliance of 31 grassroots, community-based organizations spanning urban, rural and suburban counties across the state. We engage, educate and motivate new and infrequent voters among young people, from communities of color, and from poor and working class neighborhoods to make California’s electorate reflect our state’s diverse population. Through our bottom-up approach, we are organizing voters most impacted by budget cuts and deteriorating public services in support of systemic, progressive solutions to our state’s fiscal crisis. Working together, and including those who are often left out of policy decisions, we believe we can reclaim the California Dream of equality, opportunity and prosperity for all Californians.