Sacramento, CA – The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network released the following statement after several state trigger cuts in the state 2020-2021 budget went into effect due to lack of federal action on a COVID-19 stimulus package. In June, the Governor and Legislature passed a budget under a projected $54 billion deficit, which included more than $11 billion in trigger cuts and deferrals impacting courts, state workers, and public higher education, should federal aid not arrive. As a result, school and community college districts, for example, will have to front billions in state funding which they would normally receive in exchange for IOUs that won’t be repaid until 2021-22. The impacts of this budget maneuver will be borne more heavily by schools in low-wealth counties like Kern and San Bernardino that serve a majority of children of color.
“We are disappointed, but not surprised, at the inability of our federal government to put the needs of frontline workers, patients and working families including low income, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and Asian American Pacific Islanders at the forefront of our budget and policies. These communities continue to bear the brunt of positive cases, deaths, and the economic and mental health fallout of almost 9 months of our grueling pandemic.
“From the start of the pandemic, we, alongside our partners, have advocated for the need for more equitable, robust contact tracing efforts, adequate social and financial supports for those quarantining and in isolation including our frontline workers, expansion of free testing and treatment and culturally and linguistically competent public health resources and information. The only way we will be able to get this virus under control is by targeting those hardest hit with the most resources to stop the spread and to support essential workers and those unable to work from home.
“We applaud California for once again leading the way with adoption of the new equity metric in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy which includes revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on COVID-19 reopening activities. Equity and inclusion must be at the forefront of our pandemic response as we work to safely reopen businesses and our economy.
“We urge California to continue to fight for and protect our hard-fought gains in health care and to consider different revenue streams to continue to fund and support the health and safety of all our communities. We cannot afford to move backwards or leave out communities of color in our state’s prosperity.
“Unfortunately, we cannot rely on the current federal administration to support our health equity gains and we must be vigilant and proactive in identifying revenue for these programs. With this in mind, we urge California voters to pass equitable revenue proposals like Proposition 15 this November 3rd, which will ensure corporations pay their fair share of property taxes. We also ask that the Legislature commit to generating new revenue including by passing legislation to tax California’s ultra-wealthy.”