The Impact of the Proposed State Budget on Hillsides
In a meeting with some financial advisors last week, they signaled a gradual improvement in the economic environment this year. If this is true, it would certainly be good news. Unfortunately, this improvement will not have an immediate impact on the current fiscal woes of the Federal, State and County governments.
As a result, the proposed budget presented by Governor Jerry Brown last week calls for a realignment of funds to address the immediate shortfall the State is experiencing and a June referendum to increase taxes and fees for at least the foreseeable future to maintain the infrastructure for the most vulnerable in the population. I suspect this will be a hard sell as it has been in the past.
This past week Hillsides hosted the Board of Directors of the Child Welfare League of America. CWLA like many national membership and advocacy organizations has been challenged by decreasing revenues. In the course of our discussions, former U.S. Representative from Colorado, Pat Schroder, a board member like me, commented that in recent polling, “child welfare” received a very negative reaction. The majority of those polled associated “child welfare” with “problematic” children. Given this prevalent attitude, I doubt very much that we can summon the courage as a people to make the sacrifice and take the risk of raising taxes.
So when asked what will happen if these measures are unsuccessful, the Governor responded that the current $20 billion deficit would double! This kind of structural deficit is of course unacceptable, and inevitably, basic services will be curtailed to address this monumental problem placing the most vulnerable children and families at considerable risk.
There are no good choices and no good solutions to suggest. In spite of the limited choices and solutions, we have a greater responsibility to be ever effective and efficient, focused and diligent in utilizing the resources we do have to make the greatest impact possible. More than ever, we need to leverage what public dollars we do receive together with private contributions to mitigate the impact of these cuts on the children and families we serve.
Regardless of the challenging nature of the current economic situation, the needs of those we serve will not go away, making it of greater importance to be resourceful.
We’ll keep you posted on the development of the State budget and funding. As always, we continue to count on your generous support to create a safe “place” for the children, youth and families we serve.