The budget dominated this month and, once again, we faced a multi–billion dollar deficit. The budget that was passed last year was built on overly optimistic assumptions. As a result, we faced mid–year cuts, the so–called “trigger cuts,” which were devastating to programs we funded. Nothing has changed this year.
The Governor just signed a budget that dealt with a $15.7 billion shortfall. I could not support it because it is built on an unsound foundation—overly optimistic projections and an increase in taxes without any of the reforms that will help end this cycle of deficits. The final budget was made up of over 90% in tax increases and gimmicks, and less than 10% in programmatic spending reductions.
The trigger cuts this year will go into effect if voters reject a tax initiative on the November ballot. Those cuts are targeted at education to give the appearance that if it does not pass, there will be drastic consequences affecting our children’s schools.
I would like to hear from you about your opinions on important issues such as these. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office through my website if you have any questions, comments or insight to share. Help keep your friends and neighbors informed about what’s going on in Sacramento and around the 12th Senate District by forwarding this email so they can sign up to receive our eNewsletters as well.
As part of this year’s budget, the Healthy Families program was eliminated. It provided the children of families that could not afford regular health care plans a low–cost alternative. The services provided by the program were essential for many working poor who could not qualify for Medi-Cal.
Quite frankly, I was baffled by the decision to eliminate Healthy Families, which we knew was an effective program. In transferring these children to Medi–Cal, an already overworked system, we are jeopardizing the health of those that cannot fend for themselves.
With reimbursement rates so low, few doctors and even fewer specialists participate in Medi–Cal. The result is a wait time for care that puts these children at risk for greater sickness or even death. Even though we are still technically providing medical care for these children, we are placing them in a system that will lead many to suffer. As a father of four, there is no way I could have, with a clear conscience, supported the bill. I couldn’t tell a single one of the over 21,000 kids enrolled in Healthy Families from my district that I voted to restrict access to medical care.
Earlier this month, I presented La Plaza Bakery, based in Monterey County, with the 12th Senate District’s Small Business of the Year award during a ceremony in Sacramento.
La Plaza Bakery is a shining example of taking an idea, hard work and determination and making it into a successful business. They have a truly amazing story that reflects the American Dream. In three decades of business, the bakery has become a vital part of Monterey County, not only providing jobs but giving back to the community.
The bakery was founded in 1982 by the Rodriguez family in Soledad. They pooled their savings to purchase their first location and, the entire family worked to learn the baking business, from accounting to cake decorating. The bakery prospered and opened stores in Gonzales, Salinas and Greenfield.
Today, there are six bakeries in the Salinas Valley with 120 employees. In addition to being a full–service bakery, they also sell Mexican food and other specialties.
The Rodriguez family has also established a scholarship program and is a strong supporter of local athletics, various community groups, including the Rotary Club, and is the proud sponsor of the new Teen Technology Center at the Cesar Chavez Library in Salinas.
I felt honored to present a resolution to the bakery at a community coffee I held this month at their Greenfield location. The King City Rustler reported on the event:
Maddy Institute Interns
The Modesto Bee and Merced Sun Times wrote earlier this month about a fantastic program by the Maddy Institute that places Central Valley college students in legislative offices for internships. The non–partisan Maddy Institute was named after the late Ken Maddy, an assemblyman and senator from Fresno. It was created by the legislature just before his passing and is dedicated to inspiring college students to work in public service. For the students in the program, they emphasize the importance of working in a bipartisan fashion. In a state as diverse as ours, working with colleagues from across the aisle is crucial in ending the gridlock that can paralyze the legislature.
We are proud to have three interns working in our office this year: Andrew Yenni from UC Merced and Ashton Bukko and Iqbal Atwal from CSU Stanislaus. They do tremendous work for the people of the 12th District and I hope to see them continue their paths in public service after they graduate.
Just about everyone knows to call 9–1–1 in the event of a life–threatening emergency. And I hope you know that you can contact my office for help with state agencies like the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Employment Development Department. Often, knowing just who to turn to for help can be confusing, and this is especially true for so many of our friends and neighbors, who are overwhelmed with the daily struggle to find a job, make rent payments, or even feed their families.
That’s why I want to get the word out about a terrific resource that works across the state. Available in 170 languages, 2–1–1 is a 24–hour toll–free referral service that connects people with a wide array of services, including employment assistance, disability services, ESL classes, mental health counseling, child care, shelter or food. When a wildfire, earthquake or other disaster strikes, 2–1–1 alleviates non-emergency calls to 9–1–1, putting those impacted in touch with emergency services or up–to–date information. 2–1–1 can even help you help others by putting you in touch with volunteer opportunities in our community. Those with access to a computer can also go online to search what services are available at http://www.211.org/.
SBA Government Contracting Workshop
There has never been a better time for you to do business with the Federal government, the world’s biggest purchaser of goods and services. If you are exploring opportunities that exist for your business or have just started selling to Federal agencies, this workshop is for you.
Learn how to make your way through the procurement process and compete effectively for your share of the Federal government’s business. There will be an overview of SBA’s various contracting programs including the 8(a) Program and HUBZone Program along with contracting information for women–owned and veteran–owned businesses. The SBA Surety Bond Guarantee Program will also be discussed at the workshop.
The ALLIANCE Small Business Development Center is an affiliate of the UC Merced Small Business Development Center regional Network and is partially funded by: Stanislaus Economic Development & Workforce Alliance; University of California, Merced: and the U.S. Small Business Administration. This is a partnership program under the current Cooperative Agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration and the University of California, Merced.
The event is free and advanced reservations are required as seating is limited.
Here are the details:
Thursday, July 12, 2012
10:15 AM-12:30 PM
Alliance Small Business Development Center
1020 10th St suite 102 Modesto, CA 95354
Register online @ www.alliancesbdc.com or call (209) 567-4910
Around the District
Patterson Apricot Fiesta Parade
Congratulations to the 10 students from the 12th District who won Comcast Leaders and Achievers scholarships!
I had a great time talking to Graham McCallister and Grant Doerksen, who were participating in the 4–H Youth Development program Capitol Action Day. I love talking to kids that are excited about public service.
Western United Dairymen’s California Dairy Leaders class came by my Capitol office to have a discussion about the issues facing the industry. The program’s mission is to ensure that there will be capable dairy producers that are strong and educated in all aspects of the dairy industry in order to have a better and more prosperous future in California. I was very impressed by our discussion and have high hopes for our future dairy industry leaders.
The California Professional Firefighter Association brought a fire simulator to the Capitol to give legislators a chance to see what they deal with every day. It was an amazing experience to spend a few minutes in their shoes.