The halt to state budget talks in California is “tremendously disappointing” and “particularly devastating for the poor and vulnerable,” the state’s Catholic bishops have said.
“The job of elected officials in Sacramento isn’t to carry out partisan agendas, but to pursue the Common Good,” the bishops’ conference commented in an April 1 statement. “We fervently pray that both sides return to the bargaining table as soon as possible and make the compromises necessary to meet our moral responsibility to California’s most vulnerable citizens and put the state back on a solid financial footing,” they said.
The state presently faces a $26.6 billion deficit and problems meeting future pensions for public workers.
Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown failed to secure four Republican votes needed to place a tax-extension plan before voters in a June special election.
Talks between the governor and Republican lawmakers are on hold indefinitely. Gov. Brown blamed Republicans for the negotiation’s failure, saying their demands for changes would “materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget.”
State Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton said hard feelings had poisoned negotiations.
“I was yelled at more than I was talked to, and mostly by Mrs. Brown, not even Governor Brown,” he told Reuters.
California’s Catholic bishops offered their continued prayers for a successful resolution to the budget impasse. They also promised the commitment of their ministries to the poor.
Their statement concluded with a call for all Californians to protect and support those most in need of help.