Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Meanwhile ...

As noted by many of my friends, the news of the assassination of Osama bin Laden has had all sorts of salutary effects, not the least of which are the bumping off the national radar screen the incessant reporting on Donald Trump's latest whinges and the millionth rehash of the styles on display at the royal wedding. But, those shiny keys also has bumped off news that actually have some import in the real world, among them this story from the Sacramento Bee.

Because of budgetary problems, the Sacramento county has had to cut funding for the First 5 Program, one that serves children up to age five with programs to enhance their health and education. The program itself is funded by cigarette taxes, but the money has been diverted from this program by the state to meet budget shortfalls.

The First 5 Sacramento Commission on Monday slashed $48.5 million from programs serving young children in the county.

The cuts were necessary because the state recently took $1 billion in reserve funds from First 5 commissions across California to help balance the state budget.

First 5 Sacramento responded mostly by reducing appropriations by a quarter to one-half for a range of programs over the next five years.
[Emphasis added]

Here are some of the cuts to the program:

A program to add fluoridation to waters in the county to stave off tooth decay;

A breast-feeding program run under the auspices of the federal Women, Infants, and Children agency;

A school-readiness program to prepare youngsters for education, comparable to the pre-schools many of the families could not afford.

And, of course, with the cuts in these programs, the county First 5 program won't need as many staffers, so employees are being laid off now.

This sort of scenario is being played out not only at the local level, but also across the state and the nation, all because tax hikes are off the table, especially when it comes to the privileged, and because deficit spending has become the boogieman du jour.

But the health and welfare of poorer children aren't nearly as interesting as Donald Trump's hair piece or of Kate Middleton Windsor's wedding gown, much less the death of an international nemesis. So we won't be hearing much about it.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home