Gov. Deukmejian's proposed budget is a slap in the face to all those who spend hours waiting at welfare offices every month to get a grant that puts them well below the poverty line. The governor plans not only to freeze the AFDC (or welfare) grant at an already unlivable level, but also to slash by 20% funding for the Greater Avenues for Independence (GAIN) program. Even though it was designed to offer educational and job training opportunities to welfare recipients to help them out of the cycle of poverty, the GAIN program in Los Angeles has only 49 job training slots to offer the approximately 3,700 participants.
Deukmejian's cuts--to welfare, health care, and services to the elderly--take aim at those of all ages who struggle with poverty. All this so that he can set aside $1.2 billion for a "rainy day." The Los Angeles County health system is attempting to deal with twice as many patients as it can care for responsibly. The welfare offices are so understaffed that it often takes a pregnant mother over three months to get the Medi-Cal she needs to receive prenatal care. And this isn't rain?
Associate Director for Advocacy
Interfaith Hunger Coalition