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Home > Health Topics > Podcasts > Budget Crisis

Budget Crisis

August 1, 2008

William Walker, MD
Director
Contra Costa Health Services

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With home foreclosures, high gas prices, wildfires and the ongoing budget crisis in Sacramento, it´s no wonder most of us are feeling uneasy.

I´m Dr. William Walker, Director of Contra Costa Health Services, here to talk to you about the budget crisis.

Right now, the State Legislature and the Governor are at work, trying to figure out a way to close the state’s 16 billion dollar deficit. That sounds like a staggering amount of money. It is - and there is every indication the deficit is going to get even bigger.

Meanwhile, without a budget, the state is scheduled to stop payments to many nonprofit organizations that provide care to California residents. Some organizations will have to cut back services and layoff staff. Some may even have to close.

There is often a frenzy of late night negotiations and debate in Sacramento before a State budget is approved. I am worried there will be deals and compromises that result in cutting funds for programs that serve people who are most vulnerable - seniors, children and low-income residents.

In the past, our Board of Supervisors provided county funds to make up for state budget cuts. Now, the County has its own budget shortfall to deal with. To adopt a balanced county budget in May, the Board of Supervisors cut millions from the county budget. It looks like that wasn´t enough. Contra Costa County Administrator John Cullen said recently that the housing market collapse, The decrease in property tax revenues, and other factors mean significant cuts in county funded programs.

Why am I talking to you about this now? Because it´s important that the Legislature pass a budget now. I hope every legislator will vote for the compromise budget now being considered. Yes, it includes cuts - and also ways to raise more revenue. I wish the cuts weren´t necessary but at least the compromise is better than a "cuts only" approach.

I hope you will join parents, seniors and others to protect state-funded services. Let your state elected officials know how you feel about this. Every Contra Costa resident should have access to critical services like health care, education and social services.

Thanks for listening.


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