Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The CA budget - DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!

First a letter to a congresswoman sent in by one of our readers, then an action email from Courage Campaign about what you can do to curb the terrible budget being proposed for the state of CA.

Dear Congresswoman Watson,

I have SO much to say to you, and I know we both (probably you more so)
have so little time. Today I will just write my concerns about the budget.

Firstly, cutting health assistance to children and to disabled people is
going to put a LOT of people in this state in crisis. Even though on
paper it just looks like numbers, in reality this is going to be so
damaging to hundreds of thousands of people's lives. Secondly, cutting
MORE time from schools which are already overburdened is the worst idea I
have ever heard. We have a drug war seeping over our border from Mexico
and LA County has one of the highest rates of prevalence for gang
activity. Where do you think these kids are going to get funneled into in
the next few years, especially considering how lucrative the drug system
is? If we don't educate our children how is the state of CA EVER going to
get out of a depression? Having a plethora of low wage job workers is not
what drives an economic boom or recovery. Why do you think countries like
Brazil and India are still so far behind the US? You are only as strong
as your weakest link, and this budget is going to create hundreds of
thousands of weak links in our state.

Please push for a tax on oil revenues. Burning fossil fuels is extremely
harmful for our environment and is a big part of what is pushing our
planet to the brink of annihilation and future disaster for all human
beings. I will be 65 in 40 years and DO NOT want to be mired in a world
of ecological collapse. Why don't we tax the heck out of the oil
industries - we could charge a 15% tax, help close the budget deficit, and
use future revenues to invest in manufacturing of clean energy - NOT coal
and NOT nuclear - sun and wind, the two most powerful energy sources we
could possibly have. The sun is PURE energy and is a big part of why
there is life on earth. Why not go into overtime production of solar
powered technology and shut oil out of CA forever?

Finally, I think we should also charge a 2% tax on the incomes of people
earning over $1 million. A 1% tax generates billions for MHSA (I am so
glad it did not get diverted into this budget). A 2% tax would still be
nothing to these people (less than the price of a new BMW) but would go SO
far in closing our budget. How can America call itself a developed
country if we let some of our children go without basic health coverage
and take away health coverage from disabled people, while letting million
and billionaires continue to be unaffected by an economy that is
destroying our state? That makes no sense. And I have heard NOTHING from
our state with regard to taxing these people.

Since politics usually wins out over what is actually necessary to make
the world a better place, i dont know if these words will make any impact
to anyone. But I feel very deeply what I am saying. The oil industry has
no place in our world anymore and they are extracting the life out of CA
without giving anything back. The time for that to end is NOW. Please do

Thank you,

Christine Maumaud.

Courage Campaign

Dear Friend --

Are oil companies more important than children and the disabled? Our legislative leaders and the governor seem to think so.

Last night, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the leaders of the state legislature announced they had reached a deal to close the state's budget deficit. And it's a horrific deal. They agreed to $15 billion in cuts that will cause 500,000 children to lose their health care and will cause thousands of disabled Californians to lose their in-home caregivers.

Too often we see these cuts as abstract -- as mere numbers on a page. That's why community organizers Marta Evry and Laura Velkei produced a heartbreaking video that shows the impact of these cuts. They call it "California Closed" and it is a powerful call to action on behalf of the Californians who will suffer the most if this deal is approved.

To add insult to injury, the budget deal benefits oil companies at the expense of children and the disabled. And despite widespread public support for an oil severance tax, the Governor and legislative leaders chose not to include such a tax as part of the budget deal. Instead they agreed to allow the first new offshore drilling off the California coast in 40 years.

The budget isn't a done deal yet -- legislators will vote on it Thursday. We have 48 hours to tell them to protect children and the disabled by passing a budget that makes oil companies pay their fair share in taxes. Please watch the "California Closed" video and then sign a letter that we will deliver to every legislator before the budget vote:

According to the nonpartisan California Budget Project, an oil severance tax of 9.9% could generate as much as $1 billion per year -- without requiring any new drilling. That is enough to prevent the cuts to in-home supportive services, to children's health care, and to Medi-Cal.

Last year, Chevron -- the largest California corporation in terms of revenue -- banked $24 billion in profits. Yet California is the only major oil-producing state that does not tax the extraction of oil from its lands. Even Sarah Palin's Alaska has an oil severance tax.

Our legislators need to hear from you right now that you will not support any budget deal that does not include an oil severance tax to protect children and the disabled.

Please click here to watch the "California Closed" video, and sign the Courage Campaign letter to the legislature demanding an oil severance tax to stop the health care cuts. We will deliver your signatures to your legislators before they vote on the budget on Thursday:

It's time progressives like you made your voice heard in Sacramento. Thank you for standing up for a more progressive and fair California.

Robert Cruickshank
Public Policy Director, Courage Campaign

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