It’s a big week for the Adult Day Health Care program. A budget subcommittee in the Senate recently recommended shutting it down, while an Assembly subcommittee suggested keeping an amended version of it.
The joint Budget Conference Committee discussing that discrepancy got a little more input than expected yesterday.
Gov. Jerry Brown (D) made an appearance at the start of the hearing. His message was vigorous and straightforward:
“We have a very polarized electorate, a lot of acrimony,” Brown said. “The division between Republicans and Democrats is greater than it has ever been. And that,” he said, “is our big problem here, because the [budget] problems of the state aren’t going away.”
The governor directly addressed Republican lawmakers, some of whom have said they won’t vote in order to keep a tax extension proposal off the June ballot.
“If you’re not going to vote, then why are you here?” Brown said. If you’re going to be here, give us some ideas. When you just say no — no vote, no plan, just no — that’s not American.”
In the hearing itself, lawmakers did not make any kind of decision on adult day health care services. Outside the Capitol, advocates presented a large stack of petitions to lawmakers, and staged demonstrations in three other cities across the state — the districts that are home to three of the swing-vote legislators.
That hearing is scheduled to resume today.
Brown made it a point to address the Republican lawmakers who have vowed not to pass any new taxes, and the governor said that that is not at issue in his proposal to put an extension on the ballot.
“It’s not a tax. It’s letting the people vote,” Brown said. “Putting this whole matter before the people will just allow the debate to take place,” he said.
“I donât expect you to agree with me, but come up with a plan that works. I’m telling you, time is running out for America, if we just squabble,” Brown said. “Just saying no just does a disservice to your state. We have to get to the heart of the matter. And it’s tough. Well, Republicans are tough. So make some tough choices. That’s all I’m asking.”