Politics

Brown’s Speech a Good Start, More Leadership Needed

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Contact:
Bruce Mirken, Greenlining Institute Media Relations Coordinator, 415-846-7758 (cell)
Samuel S. Kang, Greenlining Institute General Counsel, 415-317-5946 (cell)

Action on Foreclosures, Small Businesses Needed For Economic Recovery, Greenlining Institute Argues

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown deserves applause for honestly tackling California’s budget crisis in today’s  “State of the State” speech, but further action is needed to restore prosperity, policy experts at The Greenlining  Institute said today.

“What we call a recession is a full-fledged depression for many communities of color,” said Greenlining Institute General Counsel Samuel S. Kang. “Balancing the budget is important, but it’s not the same as restoring prosperity. Restoring California’s prosperity requires action to stem the tide of foreclosures – even to the extent of declaring a state of emergency if that’s what it takes — bolster small businesses, and stop the devastating effects of health insurance rate increases. We also strongly urge the governor and legislature to look into untapped revenue sources such as an oil severance tax in order to reduce devastating budget cuts.”

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Earlier today, Greenlining issued a report, The State of the Majority, examining the situation of California’s communities of color – the voters responsible for all of Brown’s victory margin last November.

The report, available online here makes a total of seven recommendations, including:

  • Generate new revenues to protect vital programs.Severe cuts to health, higher education and other programs will cause tremendous harm. California should consider new revenue sources, such as an oil severance tax.
  • Save our homes and save California’s economy.Instead of allowing new waves of foreclosures to devastate more communities, Gov. Brown and Atty. General Kamala Harris must pressure financial institutions to offer loan modifications to the 90 percent of eligible homeowners who haven’t been reached by current programs.
  • Preserve health reform momentum and stop unfair rate increases.Californians are already beginning to benefit from national health insurance reform. Now it’s time to take the next step and pass pending legislation to protect Californians against abusive, job-killing rate increases.
  • Bolster small businesses.The California Public Utilities Commission has an effective supplier diversity program that resulted in over $2 billion in contracts with diverse small businesses in 2009 alone. By replicating this model in other areas, California can encourage small businesses in the most hard-hit communities.