VETOED: funding for child care, special education

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. File photo.Gov. Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto power tonight to cut nearly $1 billion from the budget the Legislature passed this morning.

The governor reduced CalWORKs funding for child care, mental health services for special needs children, and a host of other state programs that were initially included in the $87.5 billion budget.

You can find a copy of the enacted budget here, along with a list of the vetoed items.

From a Los Angeles Times story that came over the wire:

The governor slashed 23 line items from the $87.5-billion general fund budget, including $256 million from a program for school-age children of families moving off welfare, $133 million from mental health services for special education students and nearly $60 million from AIDS treatment and prevention programs.

Schwarzenegger did not explain his actions, but a report issued by his finance department said the savings from his vetoes would “create a prudent reserve for economic uncertainties.” The state’s reserve for emergencies such as battling wildfires will grow from $375 million to $1.3 billion, the report said.

Advocates for the poor said the governor’s cuts were too deep, especially after a months-long standoff had produced a compromise spending plan that largely spared health and welfare programs from the ax.

“This recession is a time when people in communities need the help the most, and yet the governor is unilaterally making these cuts,” said Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer advocacy group.

The spending plan totals about $125 billion overall and passed the Legislature a record 100 days after the budget year began. It addresses a $19.1-billion deficit without new taxes and relies heavily on creative bookkeeping, as well as on cuts to public schools and state workers’ paychecks.

Democratic lawmakers fought back furiously after Schwarzenegger cut about half as much — $489 million — from last year’s general fund, challenging in court his authority to wield the veto pen so liberally. The courts sided with the governor, and the bitterness appeared to linger.

Schwarzenegger’s vetoes “were directed at making life more difficult for California’s working parents and the poorest, sickest and most elderly Californians. This is disappointing, but not surprising,” Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, a Democrat, said in a statement.

“Now we know we have no say over it whatsoever,” said Alicia Trost, spokeswoman for Democratic Senate leader Darrell Steinberg. “It’s just a question of how cruel he wants to be.”

Other Democrats were calling Schwarzenegger a hypocrite. Earlier this week, he had held a news conference announcing his support for extending foster care to young adults up to age 21; they’re currently cut off after turning 18. But on Friday, the governor vetoed nearly $80 million in child welfare services, which includes money for foster care.

“It is unfortunate that the governor just this past week portrayed himself as a child welfare advocate, and then within days he devastated foster kids with the stroke of his blue pencil,” said Democratic Assemblywoman Karen Bass, the former speaker who is now running for Congress. …

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Sherry Blair

    If now isn’t the time to spend reserves I don’t know when there will be a time. If we elect Brown, will he get these programs funded again before people start dying?

  • Cranky Teacher

    Pay now or pay later.

    Katy: I am trying to get more info on this double-murder Saturday night in San Leandro, as apparently a lot of OUSD kids were there.

    Student rumor mill has it:

    a) the shooter was 12 years old???
    b) a kid who was at Skyline last year is one of the victims.

    The last posted article on this on all sites was based on the Bay City News Service brief but it doesn’t seem anybody has updated it.

    I’m sure you are tired of covering these shootings rather than education, but somebody at the Tribune needs to follow up.

  • harold

    no contract in Oakland, but we continue to serve beyond the call of duty!


  • Cranky Teacher

    Since I posted earlier, I’ll now correct the rumor mill.

    The shooter at San Leandro golf club was not 12, but between 18-21.

    A kid from Skyline class of ’09 was one of the two people slain.


  • JH

    I am the father of a special needs child who just spent a year securing AB3632 funding. This money would’ve enabled my daughter to go to one of the only special needs residential programs that specializes in her complex processing disorders.
    And now this.
    I am neither a Democrat or a Republican, but this is a perfect example of a politician who balances the budget by taking money away from the most needy.
    Screw you, Governor. The budget still would’ve been fine if he hadn’t line-item vetoed this funding.

  • JR

    I have an Autistic child, and I know pain and heartache(I hope things work out for you). If we did not throw tax money away like we do,borrow from the future and play budgeting tricks plus have all the graft,fraud,waste and abuse we wouldn’t be in this position. Politicians suck but so do people who wont work and do their best to be constructive members of society. The people who truly need help should get it no question about it, but all these abusers are truly to blame for taking the money away from the TRULY needy. We as taxpayers need to start dealing some pain to the leeches and pimps that deserve it(go out and vote, and get involved in the community).

  • Catherine

    To the parents of special needs children, my heart goes out to you.

    We often say that the poor are blameless victims. In my MIDDLE school I have three boys who are parents to at least two children each by different girls. They are not blameless victims. They are stealing money from taxpayers to support their sexual lifestyles.

    We need to make it clear to young people that they are not blameless victims when they have unprotected sex and produce children. For those who tell me that I can’t tell their cultures to delay parenthood because 15 is the age when girls have been traditionally introduced to dating and sexuality, I say that if my tax dollars have to support your choices and your children, I get to make judgments, statements, vote on how to spend my money and decide whether 12, 13, 15 and 17 year olds are capable parents.

    For the parents of my students who are grandparents at 31 (yes, I have several) I get to say enough already, it is time to grow up and be accountable. Show up for your parent-teacher conferences, spend your weekends with your kids and not out dating, spend your afternoons and evenings helping your kids with their homework and read to your grandbabies.

  • JR

    Good post, it’s too bad that good advice falls on deaf ears. You are exactly right anyone who gets him/herself into trouble by their own choice is NOT a victim of anything but their own stupidity.

  • Catherine

    I have been told by fellow teachers that I am being unfair and unkind. I still say we can solve many, many of our problems in Oakland if we could cut the teen pregnancy rate in half.

    The students who are struggling the most in nearly every class were born to teen parents. I can tell with great accuracy the wanted and planned children in each of my classes. They don’t talk about spending the weekend in front of the television, they go to bed at a reasonable and regular time and if they need something for school, the school needs come before “going out” needs – whether or not the family has a little money and whether or not there are two parents in the house.

    Children of teen parents are almost never prepared to be in school with what they need, a full night’s sleep, breakfast in their belly when they arrive (or arrive on time for free school lunch) or dressed appropriately for getting around the campus quickly and for playing at lunch. They are “sexed up” to attract mates in middle school nearly always (boys and girls) if they had teen parents – almost without exception.