Passed Senate Budget: Worst Budget For Vulnerable People
With just one day left in the regular legislative session, policymakers are mulling over three budget proposals. Of all three, the budget that passed off the Senate floor late last week cuts the most from public education, health, and economic security.
Supporters of this budget claim that it protects the most vulnerable.(1) Not so—unless you don’t consider people who have a disability to be vulnerable. Or people who are homeless. Or children at risk of entering the foster care system.
The facts are clear: The budget proposal that passed off the Senate floor cuts the most from vulnerable populations: over three times more than the Senate Chair’s budget, and over twice the amount in the House budget (see graph below).(2)
Under the Senate budget that passed off the floor:
- Over 15,000 people who cannot work due to a disability would lose their medical care.
- 4,000 low-income working parents would lose child care support.
- 2,000 families would lose work supports, child care and income assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.
- Funding to support financial assistance and asset building for people with low incomes would be eliminated.
- 12,000 low-income legal immigrants would lose food assistance.
For more detail on cuts, see table below.
There are better ways to balance a budget than placing the burden on our most vulnerable populations. Strong social support systems ensure all people can meet basic needs in times of hardship. These investments help people improve their lives and help our economy recover.
As we’ve said before, there is a better path forward. Reform of our revenue system is the single most important factor in building a sustainable state budget. Smart, systemic change to our revenue structure can be accomplished through a new tax on capital gains, by strengthening our Rainy Day Fund, reducing taxes for lower and middle income families through the Working Families Tax Rebate, and bringing tax breaks in-line with the rest of the budget by requiring regular re-authorization and measurement.
1. 2012 Budget Tidbit #2- Bipartisan Senate Budget, Sen. Joe Zarelli.
2. The House and Senate have both passed budgets out of their respective chambers. The budget proposal released by the Chair of Senate Ways and Means remains in committee.