Have you ever fallen a bit into the red ink with your personal finances? Sure, who hasn't. Have you then, as a sort of family recovery plan, written a budget that puts you back in the black, but does so based in large part on the expectation that your boss will agree to raise your salary by $12 billion?
If you answered yes to these questions, you may qualify for a job at the California Department of Finance, or perhaps in the governor's office itself, where the zeitgeist is a certain rose-tinted optimism about the generosity of the California public.
Specifically, an optimism that in a June special election California voters will agree to extend about $12 billion in what were originally meant to be temporary tax increases. Absent these tax extensions, the service cuts that Sacramento will have to make in order to balance the state budget will make drastically severe a quaint understatement.
(As the comic to the right says, if you think the $1.7 billion in Medi-Cal cuts that Gov. Brown proposed in January are bad, consider what they'll be if he's got to find a dozen or so billion more dollars to squeeze out of state programs.)
Actually, given that taxes do need to be raised somehow, the plan to bring tax extensions to the voters is a politically savvy one, given that it's harder for opponents in the Legislature to block something that's going to The People for approval. Also, if a recent PPIC poll is any indication, it has at least a chance of succeeding.
To our mind, however, the PPIC poll demonstrates the possibility, but not the probability, of success. If we - you, us, and all of the People Who Care about Our Community - want to save Medi-Cal and health centers from the chopping block, we've got to get out and vote in June.
To that end, we at the Consortium are launching a major voter registration push, starting now. More detail will follow - suffice to say that this will be our top advocacy priority in Spring 2011. (BTW - if you're reading this and aren't registered - or have moved recently and need to re-register - follow this link to get the quick-and-easy process started.)
But! We can't do it alone, and so we're writing to say: Join us! If you're an individual who can help out on the campaign to sign up voters, drop us a line and we'll put you to work! If you're an organization that's also doing voter reg. work this spring, let's figure out how we can work together to canvass the whole region.
Future registered voters of Contra Costa and Solano Counties, we're coming for you!