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Lawmakers decry Arnold’s child-care veto

By Josh Richman
Tuesday, October 26th, 2010 at 5:02 pm in Arnold Schwarzenegger, California State Senate, Ellen Corbett, Jack O'Connell, Loni Hancock, state budget.

Lawmakers and child-care advocates held a news conference in Oakland this morning to decry Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Oct. 8 veto of $256 million in CalWORKs Stage 3 child care funds which would’ve provided services to working parents.

State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, had called the cuts “unnecessary, misguided, cruel and shortsighted” in a news release issued yesterday. “It will force millions of parents to choose between keeping their jobs and caring for their children. I can think of no action more destructive to our economy that forcing low-income workers to give up their jobs. That’s why we must overturn the Governor’s veto.”

Among those also at the news conference were state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell; Renee Sutton Herzfeld, executive director of Community Child Care Council (4C’s) of Alameda County; and state Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro.

Corbett later Tuesday issued a statement saying she’s “disappointed that the Governor used a single pen stroke to take away funds that working families need. He slammed closed the door of opportunity for 60,000 families statewide, including 81,000 children.”

“Government should help people, not hurt them,” she added. “We fought to make sure the most draconian cuts proposed by the Governor did not become reality. Unfortunately, once again, the children of this state were targeted.”

Here’s what Herzfeld had to say last week about the governor’s veto:

My colleague, Katy Murphy, penned an article last week further describing the child-care cuts’ impact here in the East Bay.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear this afternoon questioned why, despite today’s news conference and the veto’s impending effects, I’m bothering to report about a veto that happened weeks ago – “We’re having a presser tomorrow to overturn Prohibition. Hope you can make it.” – and referred questions to state Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer.

(Asked if he really wanted to be so cavalier about a veto that will impact so many families, McLear responded by e-mail, “Sounds like you’re writing from a particular point of view — interesting reporting. Just making sure u know this story is weeks old.”)

Palmer said the governor vetoed $963 million in general-fund spending, including this child-care money, because lawmakers had sent him a budget with only $375 million in reserves, which he deemed too small given the state’s fiscal instability.

“Each of these vetoes involved trade-offs and some tough choices, and this veto clearly will present challenges for many,” Palmer said, although the budget does still include $1.7 billion in child-care for low-income Californians through other programs. “I do not and would not mean to suggest each family, each individual affected by this will have a vacant slot waiting for them – there are waiting lists, there are backlogs.”

Palmer also provided a primer explaining exactly what the “Stage 3 funds” are:

CalWORKs Stage 1, an entitlement program, is administered by the Department of Social Services through county welfare departments and provides child care services to individuals when they enter the CalWORKs program. It is funded with a combination of non-Proposition 98 General Fund and TANF.

CalWORKs Stage 2, also an entitlement program, is administered by the Department of Education and provides child care services to families transitioning off of CalWORKs. Families are eligible to receive services for up to two years after they no longer receive a CalWORKs grant. Stage 2 is funded through a combination of Proposition 98 General Fund and federal funds.

CalWORKs Stage 3, a capped program (not an entitlement), is also administered by the Department of Education and provides child care services to families that have exhausted their two-year time limit in Stage 2. Families remain eligible for services provided that their children are younger than age 13 and they meet the income eligibility criteria. The budget provides federal funding for services through October 2010.

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  • Elwood

    ““Sounds like you’re writing from a particular point of view — interesting reporting.”

    Who, Josh?

    Naaaah!

  • Josh Richman

    Hmm. Funny how I present some facts, and nobody disputes them, but it’s those with clear ideological axes to grind who suggest that I’m biased and would be a better reporter if I ignored what our East Bay elected officials are saying and doing. How ’bout that!

  • Peter

    McLear knows his boss’s values, and for the sake of his future earnings prospects will not cross them, even a few months from the end of their current relationship. With that in mind, readers can safely conclude that Arnold’s quip that cutting off the poor didn’t bother him is true. He and McLear can screw poor kids, then relax in the hot tub with a stogie, as we always knew. But remember, screwing poor kids and their moms is what Assembly Republican Leader Martin Garrick described as being a real man (“Man up!”).

  • RR, Uninvited Columnist

    Government should help people and not hurt them. (And we left-wing Democrats know what’s best for everybody)

  • Angelica

    Thanks for reporting on this. It makes all the clear to me why it makes a difference who we put in the Governor’s office. These cuts are going to hit working families hard and I’m frankly disgusted by Schwarzenegger’s dismissive response.

  • John W

    This should get really interesting when the next guv takes over and has to deal with a $30 billion shortfall next year.

  • http://www.decideondaycare.com/ DDanny

    With these hard economic times daycare costs can really be rough. Now with cuts so many parents are faced with hard choices on what to do. These choices can seem overwhelming. I found http://www.decideondaycare.com/ seven steps to be helpful to organize all the things you have to think about with daycare. I am currently rethinking things myself with all these changes.