State of surgery

Yes, governor, we get it.

California’s wallet is empty. Dramatic steps need to be taken. (See our suggestions above.) However, when last week you proposed utterly eliminating cash assistance for the state’s poorest families, our jaws dropped. Ending CalWORKs would be unprecedented, making ours the only state in the nation to reject Temporary Assistance for Needy Families federal block grants. We’d be passing, literally, on $3.7 billion in federal welfare-to-work funds in order to save $1.8 billion. That’s $5.5 billion that won’t go to providing basics for California’s neediest population.

That’s just not OK. Will a majority of legislators oppose this full-scale dismantling of state programs that serve the poorest of the poor?

Let us hope so.

In the meantime, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg couldn’t be more correct when he suggests, though some deep cuts seem inevitable now, that the state needs to “be surgical about the way we go cutting.”

Governor, please, go forth with a surgeon’s scalpel, not a bludgeon.