California Gov. Gavin Newsom has ‘freed up’ $75 million to give illegal aliens a cash stimulus while cutting government benefits for 1.2 million aged, blind and disabled in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. He has also threatened to lay off first responders, police officers and firefighters.
Newsom magically found room in a budget running a $54 billion deficit to provide relief for unlawful immigrants who can now apply for $500 per person and up to $1,000 per household, according to a Los Angeles Times report on Monday.
“Nothing breaks my heart more than making budget cuts,” Newsom told reporters. “There’s a human being behind every single number. A dream that’s being deferred. A dream denied …. “I recognize these cuts are devastating to so many people.”
The governor is proposing to save about $68 million in general fund money by eliminating a planned expansion of Medi-Cal for some SSI-SSP recipients. He is also cutting back on In-Home Supportive Services, a program to help frail people with their personal tasks.
He has also proposed a $15.1 billion reduction in the education budget for K-12 schools and community colleges, including $3.6 billion from the current education budget year that ends on June 30.
Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove has urged Newsom to focus on meeting the urgent needs of Californians instead of using his $75 million slush fund on illegal aliens. She proposed spending the money on food banks, equipment for students to continue their education online and local governments struggling with revenue losses.
Newsom told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday the coronavirus pandemic is to blame for the state’s deficit and first responders will be the “first ones laid off” if the federal government does not send relief quickly.
“The folks that are out there, the true heroes of this pandemic, our healthcare workers and nurses, those county health systems have been ravaged, their budgets have been devastated and depleted. They’re the first ones to be laid off,” he said.
The combative Governor said federal funding should not be looked at as charity. He urged President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers to pass the $3 trillion HEROES Act, the stimulus legislation passed by House Democrats last week that would send federal aid to state and local governments.
“I hope they’ll consider this, the next time they want to salute and celebrate our heroes and first responders, our police officers and firefighters, consider the fact that they are the first ones that will be laid off by cities and counties,” Newsom told Tapper.
Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has declared the bill dead on arrival and a “totally unserious effort” by Democrats.
Newsom said a year ago California was “running a $21.5 billion surplus and here we are at a $54.3 billion budget deficit that is directly COVID induced.”
“I’m not looking to score cheap political points, but I do want to make this point,” he said. “We have an obligation, a moral and ethical obligation to American citizens all across this country to help support cities, states and counties.”
During a news briefing in Napa on Monday, Newsom stressed that the cuts would be inevitable, based on the manner in which local city and county budgets work.
“I’m not here by any stretch of the imagination to suggest or even to allow the implication that somehow we’re pitting one group against another,” Newsom said. “The magnitude of these budgets nominally is personnel at the county and city levels.”