Stalemated by Sacramento
The budget stalemate in Sacramento<almost eight weeks old<is having a big impact on the elderly in Nevada County. Today, The Union looks at several aspects of the problem and how local agencies and individuals are coping.
While Chuck Coovert says the state budget deadlock has not affected him, he does not mince words when the subject is brought up.
He is particularly incensed that so many poor people are hurt, that nonprofit organizations are struggling to make ends meet, that students cannot get their state grants, and that so many vendors contracted by the state cannot be paid and could go out of business.
“I’m very irritated at the state Legislature for dragging this out,” said Coovert, a 64-year-old semi-retired businessman as he finished breakfast with friend Mark Hicks at Charlie’s Angels Cafe Tuesday.
Nearby, Earl Winters, 70, said state legislators who have yet to agree to pass the state budget do not care.
“They ought to be voted out of office,” said the 70-year-old Penn Valley resident, who, like Coovert, has not been hurt by the deadlock.
Al and Barbara La Plante, a Nevada City couple in their 60s, have what they describe as a comfortable retirement going.
So luckily, they don’t need to rely on the nonprofits’ services, though they support them financially “any way we can,” said Al La Plante.
Barbara La Plante said it’s still a problem if nonprofits aren’t getting money from the state budget they expect.
Even though it doesn’t affect them directly, nonprofits’ problems affect the community, affect everybody, said La Plante.
The state’s budget problems could affect nonprofits that help children, people with disabilities, seniors – anyone who fits into a special category and relies on state-funded programs, said Richard Crandall, executive director of Sierra Services for the Blind.
The poor will be affected more than anyone else, said Crandall. The county had 7,332 people living in poverty in 1999, 10 percent of them seniors over 65, according to the U.S. Census.
In addition, there were almost 1,200 children under age 11 living in poverty.
If the budget remains at an impasse for the next three months and nonprofit agencies lose funding, some of them could have trouble making their rent. Some may even close, he predicted.
“You’re going to see more and more closures,” said Crandall. His agency has not been affected because it gets little state funding.
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