We need reality-based leadership

Assemblyman Logue’s ‘economic fantasies’ are unsound and hurtful

Mr. LeVang is executive director of Independent Living Services of Northern California and co-organizer of the Northern California State Budget Alliance. He lives in Chico.

Most Californians are painfully aware that our state faces a $19 billion budget shortfall this year. Many are also aware that our governor and his Republican allies want to close that gap primarily by making massive cuts to California’s basic health and human-service programs.

On Monday, July 12, a contingent of the Northern California State Budget Alliance (NCSBA) visited the Chico office of Assemblyman Dan Logue (R-Linda) to demand a better approach to solving the budget crisis. Our plan calls for combining program cuts with revenue increases. It’s a fair and sensible way forward, one that preserves and creates jobs while mitigating the destruction of our social safety net.

During our visit we presented a set of questions to Logue’s staff that we’d like the assemblyman to answer. We believe that, as our elected representative, he has an obligation to explain his actions and thinking on the crisis. For example: Has his office conducted any research on the impacts of a “cuts-only” budget? Are there contingency plans for the thousands of disabled and elderly constituents who will lose basic services? Will he consider any ways of generating revenue to limit massive program cuts?

At a subsequent meeting with one of Logue’s representatives on July 21 in Oroville, we received an answer to our first question—that Assemblyman Logue has not conducted any research on the impacts of a cuts-only budget. Logue’s representative claimed (with irony) that shrinking state budgets have caused legislative staff overloads, making such research impossible!

After taking a moment to let that bombshell sink in, we pointed out that volumes of research on the subject are available to anyone with an Internet connection. For starters, the Legislative Analyst’s Office, the California Budget Project, the UC Berkeley Labor Center and even the governor’s own Department of Finance have published extensive findings and recommendations.

Here’s what the research reveals: The governor’s cuts-only approach would cause massive job loss (more than half in the private sector); would deepen, not alleviate, the recession; would include more than $40 billion in corporate tax giveaways; would cause the state to lose billions of federal matching dollars; and (lest we forget) would result in hundreds of thousands of Californians suffering needlessly.

While our solution is based on hard facts and common sense, Logue promotes economic fantasies. Join us in calling for Dan Logue to provide reality-based leadership. It’s the only way out of this mess.