And now we’re down to the wire. On Friday, the Legislature presented Governor Brown with a balanced budget that preserves these programs that are critical to women and children. Check out our 1 minute video, then please, call the Governor. Or send him a letter, calling on him to pass the Legislature’s budget.
More on what’s happening: Governor Brown is pushing back on CalWORKS in particular. CalWORKS is our state’s welfare to work program. It stands for California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids. More than three-quarters of the 1.5 million in the welfare-to-work program are children.
Governor Brown wants to reduce the amount of time that people can stay on CalWORKS from four years to two. He is citing former President Clinton’s welfare reform. But guess what? This is not 1996. In 1996, we had a stronger economy. Furthermore, Clinton allowed five years for people to get training, post-secondary education, childcare, and other services to help them transition to work. With today’s tough economy and high unemployment, it is unlikely that many of the people who transitioning off CalWORKS will be able to find work. In fact, the employment rate for single female headed households has dropped by 10% in the last 4 years. Now is not the time to make any more cuts to CalWORKS.
CalWORKS and other safety net services have ALREADY been cut enough. So far, in the last 3 years, $3.3 billion has been cut out of CalWORKS alone and $15 billion from safety net services. The other important fact to remember? Every dollar invested in safety net programs like CalWORKS and subsidized childcare return at least $1.31 to local economies. Long term, programs that help women move out of poverty by increasing their education and helping them find employment, save the state money and contribute to the tax base.