Most everyone would expect Governor Jerry Brown to take sharp measures to ensure that the state's books are balanced in the coming year.
But cutting back on food for the elderly? That seems draconian.
According to the Sacramento Bee, Brown wants to seriously trim grants for the low-income and elderly, as well as blind and disabled residents.
We asked a Brown spokesman for specifics about the proposed cuts -- and his response remained consistently vague.
"More details on the governor's budget plan will be provided when it's introduced next week," the staffer said.
Still, it's worth noting that a proposal that hits both the poor and the elderly
is an audacious move for the newly elected Democrat who advocated strongly for that constituency his first term as governor. Remember when he gained hero status among aging Californians after setting up the state's first Department of Aging while making elderly assistance a budget priority?
Those efforts have been slowly stripped away, mostly under the watch of Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was notorious for slashing funds that paid for dental care, vision, podiatry, and other types of medical assistance for the state's poor and elderly residents.
Under the current Supplemental Security Income program, poor, elderly and disabled Californians can get up to $845 in combined federal and state assistance. Some 46,000 San Franciscans rely on SSI grants.
Further cuts would mean disaster for the local community, where many who rely on this assistance would go hungry and forgo treating medical conditions.
"Food insecurity is an issue," said Patricia McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a San Francisco nonprofit. "The Senior nutrition program was eliminated under Schwarzenegger last year... For Brown to use poor people, disabled people, and the frail elderly as political footballs makes me sick."
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