NEWS & LETTERS, July-August 2005

LA protests state cuts

Los Angeles--In conjunction with a mass demonstration in Sacramento, 15,000 working people (over 60% white) assembled in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles to protest Gov. Schwarzenegger’s proposed cuts in education, healthcare and other vital services. A focal point of the protest was opposition to an upcoming special election that would rescind Proposition 98, which guarantees 40% of state revenues to public education.

Instead the petition drive sponsored by big business interests would cap money spent on government social services and force automatic cuts if the state budget could not be balanced. This would bypass the Democratic Party-controlled legislature. The governor and the state legislators temporarily suspended Proposition 98 to balance last year’s budget with the agreement that the state refund the schools’ shortfall the following year. The governor has reneged on that promise.

Another major issue was the fight by the California Nurses Association against Governor Schwarzenegger’s attempt to increase the patient-to-nurse ratio.

Many in attendance were teachers and other school workers from throughout southern California, and nurses and other state hospital employees. Signs and slogans included, "Only bullies take money from children" and "My special interest? My students!"

Though there are shortages of funds at all levels of government in today’s global economic crises, I heard no speaker promoting tax increases for millionaires, billionaires, and corporations whose taxes have been reduced drastically in the last 30 years.


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