California Governor’s Budget Cuts Barstow Veterans Home
The newly “revised” California Governor’s budget closes the Barstow Veterans Home in an attempt to save money. The state has experienced a drastic shortfall of funds from the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
Today, the Gov. announced closure of the Barstow Veterans Home. It’s unconscionable to balance the budget on the backs of our veterans and even worse to displace the 200 residents who currently call this home. https://t.co/gMSM0KbA8I
— Asm. Jay Obernolte (@JayObernolte) May 15, 2020
According to the VV Daily Press,
“The Governor may propose the budget, but the Legislature writes it and I will not idly sit by and allow this home to be closed,” Obernolte said in a Thursday statement. “Closing it will only save the state $400,000 in this budget year, but the loss of per-diem paid to the state by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for these residents will cost $3 million per year. That math simply doesn’t add up.”
Obernolte said VHC-Barstow was originally opened due to its unique proximity to multiple military installations, including Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, the Twentynine Palms Marine Corps Base, the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station and Edwards Air Force Base.
“Our community has one of the highest concentrations of veterans in the state, and the support for this home is overwhelming,” Obernolte said. “I am committed to ensuring that this home remains a part of our community.”
Situated on 22 acres, VHC-Barstow is a 400-bed facility that had a 2019 budgeted capacity of 220 beds. In that year, only 190 beds were filled, according to the master plan.
Because the Barstow Veterans Home is not filled to capacity, the Governor’s budget closes it. The budget drastically cuts funding for many items across the board. But where will these veterans go? That’s always a question, after they’ve lived in one place for a number of years, uprooting them is a travesty. San Bernardino County has the 5th largest veteran population in California.
The budget plan also cuts a couple of programs for the elderly:
“Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) and Multipurpose Senior Services Program(MSSP)—The May Revision proposes to eliminate the CBAS and MSSP programs. The effective date for CBAS would be January1, 2021, for a savings of $1.6 million General Fund in 2020-21 and $2.7 million ongoing. The effective date for MSSP would
be no sooner than July 1, 2020, for a savings of $22.2 million General Fund in 2020-21 and $21.8 million ongoing.”
Robbing Peter to pay Paul?
To “balance a budget” that has consistently included undocumented people is quite a task. The Governor’s budget revision does cut the widening of full Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented adults, but maintains coverage for undocumented children and youth.
“The May Revision maintains Medi-Cal program eligibility, including for the optional expansion and undocumented children and young adults, in order to help the state’s low income residents respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The state is not in a fiscal position to increase rates or expand programs given the drastic budget impacts of the COVID-19 Recession.”
The budget now goes to the legislature to hammer out in cooperation with the Governor’s office. Whether or not they will go along with it is anyone’s guess. Some legislators such as ASM Jay Obernolte, are furious that the veterans’ home as been chopped.
Featured phtoo: Barstow Veterans Home