There is very little in the May Revise for California counties to feel good about. The May 19, 2009 Special Election continues to be funded and no further cuts in transportation or transit are proposed. After those two gems, the good news drops precipitously. Read CSAC’s initial analysis of the May Revise here.
Those who would feel the most pain from this budget are the children of our most vulnerable citizens: those now participating in the CalWORKS program. More than 1.4 million Californians participate in this program, over two-thirds of those children. The Governor has proposed to completely eliminate this program, effective October 1, 2010, for a General Fund savings of $1.6 billion. California would also forego $3.7 billion in federal TANF funds for a combined economic impact of $5.3 billion. The California Welfare Directors Association has estimated that 90,000 CalWORKS recipients would lose their jobs because they would no longer be able to afford child care. There are an estimated 14,000 county employees administering the CalWORKS program who would also be exposed to job loss.
Eliminating the CalWORKS program would have impacts that would ripple throughout California’s economy and society. A number of those recipients could end up qualifying for County General Assistance – impacting strained county budgets by nearly $2 billion. A recent study by Beacon Economics estimated that expenditures such as CalWORKS program expenditures generate $1.32 for every dollar spent, meaning the CalWORKS program generates nearly $7 billion in economic activity in California – most of that from the infusion of federal dollars. The ripple effects on society would be enormous. Children coming to school with little sleep, lack of nutrition, homeless. Other cuts proposed by the Governor would eliminate county mental health treatment for children in schools. The homeless population, a primary impact in our cities, would increase by 1.4 million people. California would increasingly resemble a Third World country.
A more detailed analysis of the impacts social services programs have on our society can be found in the joint CWDA and CSAC Report – Human Services in a Time of Economic Crisis.
For more, visit The County Voice, a place where CSAC, county officials and stakeholders can voice their thoughts on governance and issues that impact California’s 58 counties.