Latino leaders in San Diego came together last week to find ways to navigate California’s budget problems.
Several dozen community leaders affiliated with National Council of La Raza (NCLR) gathered in San Ysidro to hear from three experts, each focusing on a different subtopic: what’s going on with the state budget, how community organizations can navigate the budget process, and what can be done in the way of state reforms to stabilize funding for needed services.
Scott Graves, California Budget Project senior analyst, not only gave an overview of the state’s budget process, but explained how priorities have shifted.
- Support for K-12 schools and community colleges is $6.6 billion lower in 2011-12 than 2007-08
- Personal income tax is projected to provide more than half of general fund revenues in 2011-12
- Total annual state spending has declined by nearly $10 billion since 2007-08 due to budget cuts
Ed Martinez, CEO of the host organization, San Ysidro Health Center, shared how his 40-year-old organization has weathered budget ups and downs. He also described changes in federal and state policy that have affected his organization’s ability to deliver quality health care services. While the organization successfully serves 77,000 residents through numerous clinics throughout San Diego, any reliance on government funding has become increasingly difficult.
California Forward Policy Director Richard Raya discussed the importance of “moving more authority and flexibility to local governments, while changing the role of the state and encouraging more regional collaboration.” He discussed the importance of improving accountability at every level of government through the use of performance-based budgeting, and shared examples of interagency collaboration to improve outcomes in the three most significant areas of state general fund spending – education, health and human services, and public safety.
This event was convened by the California NCLR network, the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States.
California Forward looks to community leaders to continue the momentum of the discussion and take it back to their local communities. To learn more about the latest in budget reform measures, like us on Facebook.
Teresa Acosta is the California Forward regional partnerships lead for the San Diego region.