Governor’s Ballot Proposal Would Raise Revenues for K-12 and Higher Education, Have Positive Impact on Communities of Color
OAKLAND, Calif. – Influential ethnic health leaders from across California expressed support today for Proposition 30, a ballot initiative spearheaded by Governor Jerry Brown that would raise much-needed revenues to support the state’s K-12 schools, community colleges, and public safety infrastructure. The current state budget, approved in June, relies heavily on the passage of this ballot proposal, which is expected to generate between $6.8 and $9 billion in funds for 2012-13 and between $5.4 and $7.6 billion the following six years after which the taxes expire. These revenues will be raised by increasing the personal income tax rate for the state’s wealthiest residents and temporarily raises the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent.
“This November we have an opportunity to protect the future of our state,” said Ellen Wu, Executive Director of the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. “We have gotten to the point where we simply cannot cut anymore from our budget, and the time for new revenues is long overdue. If this measure fails, there will be a $6 billion budget gap that will not only result in further cuts to education but also to the vital public programs on which our communities rely.”
“Proposition 30 will ensure there is adequate funding for education, which has been linked to life expectancy” said B. Darcel Lee, Executive Director of the California Black Health Network. “Those with less than a high school diploma have lower life expectancies than those who graduated from high school. For example, a recent study found that African American men without a high school diploma can expect to live 14 years less than college-educated White men. Statistics like these are unacceptable. Investing in our education system and creating schools that meet the needs of all students is a first step to reducing these significant disparities in education as well as in health.”
“According to recent data, Latinos now comprise half of all students educated in California’s K-12 schools. The lack of public school funding, especially in low-income areas, has hit Latino families hardest,” said Monica Blanco-Etheridge, Executive Director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California. “Cuts in school funding have resulted in significant disparities in academic success in our communities, which is a critical indicator of wellbeing in our youth and a primary indicator of how healthy they will be as adults. If we really care about the future of California, we must support Proposition 30.”
“Passage of Proposition 30 is imperative for the health and wellbeing of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities in California,” said Kathy Lim Ko, President and CEO of the Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum. “Six of the top 10 community colleges in the U.S. that award the most associate degrees to Asian American and Pacific Islander students are in California. These institutions provide stability to our communities by offering night classes that are accessible for working adults, teaching language skills to English-learners, and allowing members of our community to improve their lives.”
“Proposition 30 is the only initiative that will immediately address the state’s budget crisis,” said James Allen Crouch, Executive Director of the California Rural Indian Health Board. “Over the past four years, the state budget has been cut by 20%, including funds for education, health, and social services. Studies have shown that college enrollment by Native Americans is on the rise. We must pass Proposition 30 so we don’t lose the progress we have made. We must restore fiscal stability in California.”
These five organizations fight relentlessly for the health of communities of color. Over the course of the last three years, California’s legislature and Governors have made approximately $15 billion in cuts to health care and social services, harming our state’s economic recovery. These cuts created a tremendous hardship for California’s most vulnerable – communities of color, seniors, low-income families, children and people with disabilities – and our state’s health care infrastructure.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (APIAHF) influences policy, mobilizes communities, and strengthens programs and organizations to improve the health of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders.
The California Black Health Network (CBHN) advocates for policies and programs that will improve the health status of people of African descent in California.
The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN) works to eliminate health disparities by advocating for public policies and sufficient resources to address the health needs of communities of color.
The California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB), Inc. is devoted to the needs and interests of the Indians of Rural California.
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California (LCHC) is committed to initiating and advancing policies that will increase access to health services and build healthy Latino communities in California.