HEALTH ACCESS ACTION ALERT

HEALTH CARE CUTS UPDATE

Tuesday, May 29, 2002

* On Tuesday, the Senate was unable to pass the proposed budget, since Republicans held together and refused to allow it to continue to conference committee, where it would be negotiated with the Assembly version. From the coverage and the debates both in committee and on the Senate floor, it is clear that health care is the budget item most at issue.

* In order to prevent these devastating cuts, we now have over thirty organizations supporting an increase in the upper tax brackets. If your organization hasn’t, please write a letter of support for SB 1255 (Burton), which restore the upper tax brackets to 1996 levels. ATTACHED IS A SAMPLE LETTER. Send letters to: The Honorable John Burton, Senate President Pro Tem, California State Senate, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. Here is a current list of the organizations we know support SB 1255:

Current List of SB1255 Signatories:

AARP California*

AFSCME

California Association for the Education of Young Children*

California Church Impact*

California Child Care Resource Network*

California NOW (National Organization of Women)

Child Care Law Center

Children Now*

Children’s Advocacy Institute

Children’s Defense Fund

Children’s Network Council*

Coleman Advocates for Children and Youth

Congress of California Seniors

Consumers Union*

Friends Committee on Legislation of CA

Gray Panthers

Greenlining Institute

Health Access California

Jericho

League of Women Voters, California

Lutheran Office on Public Policy, California*

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF)

National Council of La Raza

Neighbor to Neighbor

Older Women’s League

Pacific Institute for Community Organization California Project (PICO)*

Protection and Advocacy*

Sacramento Mutual Housing Association*

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)*

Western Center on Law and Poverty

* indicates organizations who we believe support SB1255 (Burton), but do not have a specific letter filed at Senator Burton’s office.



Anthony E. Wright

Director of Organizing

Health Access

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

awright@health-access.org

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May 17, 2002

The Honorable John Burton

Senate President Pro Tem

California Senate

State Capitol

Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: SB 1255 (Burton): SUPPORT

Dear Senator Burton:

We write to support SB 1255 (Burton), which restores the upper tax brackets to 1996 levels, and raises the revenues needed to prevent devastating cuts to health care and other critical services.

We are deeply concerned about the budget revision the Governor has proposed, including the deep cuts to core health care programs. These cuts would deprive millions of low-income children, seniors, and working families of access to basic health care. A half-million Californians will be dropped from Medi-Cal health coverage—the majority of whom are in working families. The proposal reduces eligibility, and restores barriers to enrolling and staying insured. Those on Medi-Cal will get less coverage and care. Uninsured families may not be able to rely on the local safety-net hospital, which will have to cut services or close altogether.

We agree with the Governor that tough cuts must be balanced with increased revenues. The current proposal is not balanced; it depends much more on cuts than on revenues. The burden of the cuts disproportionately falls on low-income working families, especially the uninsured. Everyone should share in the solution to the budget crisis. In 1967, 1971, and 1991, Governors Reagan and Wilson have both balanced cuts with revenues increases by signing into law increases in the top tax brackets.

We urge support of SB1255 (Burton) to reinstate the top tax brackets to 1996 levels; which would affect modestly only those earning over $260,000 a year. More than a third of the state tax increase would be paid by the federal government in the form of higher deductions. Moreover, a state tax increase on top bracket families would only take a fraction of what they will receive with last year’s federal tax cut.

The alternative is far worse. Without increased revenues, the budget crisis necessitates deep cuts in key services on which every Californian depends, such as the availability of emergency rooms and hospitals. Even a temporary increase in taxes can prevent cuts from which our quality of life will not recover.

Thank you for your leadership in proposing a balanced solution to the state budget crisis, and an alternative to the worst of the proposed cuts.

Sincerely,

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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