County Officials Urge Support for State Budget With at Least $1 Billion for Safety-Net System to Protect Most Vulnerable Californians
June 15, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Sara Floor, Communications Manager
916-926-8769; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
SACRAMENTO – During a virtual press conference this morning, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis and Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore joined county human services, behavioral health, and public health officials from across California to urge support for county safety-net services funding in the 2020-2021 State budget. Selected comments from each participant follow:
Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor – “I’m asking the California Legislature to stand firm behind their $1 billion commitment in their state budget package to protect the Californians who are our responsibility – and who are counting on us now more than ever. Budgets are a statement of our values. Without this funding, the consequences of poverty will be felt even more deeply. Including $1 billion of safety-net funding for counties in the State budget is a down payment on our future.”
James Gore, Sonoma County Supervisor and CSAC 1st Vice President – “California counties are facing a $3.3 billion revenue reduction for safety-net services. We understand that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The $1 billion backfill in the Legislature’s budget package will help protect numerous social services, behavioral health and public safety programs that California’s most vulnerable individuals and families rely on.”
Also on the call were Graham Knaus, CSAC Executive Director; Dr. Veronica Kelley, San Bernardino County Behavioral Health Director; Michelle Callejas, Sacramento County Child, Family and Adult Services Director; and Mimi Hall, Santa Cruz County Health Care Agency Director who echoed the Supervisors statements. Widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting deep recession means increased demands for behavioral health, public health, child and adult protective services. It’s hard to imagine a worse time to cut public health funding than during a pandemic. The state’s safety net and the vulnerable families and children that rely on it, are in extreme peril. Make no mistake, there will be no economic recovery without a strong safety net. This anomaly in our economy is without precedent – and it is the reason Counties are asking the state to provide the funding needed to keep California’s commitment to protect our most vulnerable populations.
California’s safety-net system is delivered almost entirely by counties —public health, public safety, behavioral health and social services— and is under immense strain from the COVID-19 public health crisis and steep economic recession. The Legislature’s budget package prioritizes relief to maintain the safety net in a severely challenging state budget and will help soften the blow to county programs and services. If funding for counties is not included in the 2020-2021 state budget, counties will likely be forced to enact:
- 40% cuts to investigations of child and elder abuse and neglect and necessary supports to keep families and children safe.
- 30% cuts to public health, including public health labs critical to COVID-19 response and communicable disease prevention for measles, HIV, and other potential pandemics.
- 30% cuts to behavioral health including inpatient psychiatric services, youth substance use disorder treatment and other critical programs for adults and children.
- 30% cuts to public safety and to programs for former state inmates housed in county jails or on probation.
California State Association of Counties (CSAC) is the voice of California’s 58 counties at the state and federal level.
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