The longest budget stalemate in California history ended in September with a budget “balanced” on the backs of workers and students. The budget, which stands to be cut further, is a racist attack on the working class that:
• Cut $3.3 billion from base K-12 funding and from community colleges, libraries and adult education
• Cut billions more from low-income seniors and people with disabilities, from the CalWorks job training program, and other social services.
• Cut MediCal benefits, public health, the discount drug program, and payments to MediCal providers
• Will make mid-year cuts to the University of California (UC) and the California State University (CSU) systems, but not to “debt service” (interest flowing from workers’ taxes to banks)
• Diverted money for public transit to fund $1 billion in transit-related debt service
• Kicked in $250 million extra for COPS, Sheriffs, and more fascist law-enforcement
California’s Racist Cuts
Democratic politicians took advantage of the huge Obama turnout to pass an initiative raising LA County’s sales tax to 8.75%. Now they’re planning more racist mid-year budget cuts which will hurt all workers. For example, the bosses closed King Hospital in South LA, patients were shunted to public health clinics; now the County Board of Supervisors threatens to cut the clinics.
Like 18 other states, California is running out of unemployment insurance funds. The official unemployment is over 7.7%, up from 5.5% last year. The San Francisco Chronicle reported (9/11/08) that California hoped to borrow from the Federal Government for the first time since the 1930s.
Meanwhile, workers here are losing their homes at 2½ times the rate a year ago. Tuition is likely to increase in the UC system, and in the CSU system with proportionally more black and latin students. At community colleges (with even more black and Latin students) fees could rise by 30% or 50%. These fees don’t go to the colleges, but into the general fund where they help pay for bond interest and prisons.
College students protested budget cuts last spring, and are planning statewide rallies for the coming weeks. Students and workers still have illusions about capitalism, but as discussion leads to action, opportunities for communist work expand. CHALLENGE sales on campuses are increasing, more students are looking to the Progressive Labor Party for leadership. It will be up to us to take this opportunity to show that capitalism is not a viable system for the working class. Join Us.