San Benito County Chapter leaders were in Sacramento this week to lobby legislators to pass AB 440, a bill authored by Assemblyman Luis Alejo and co-authored by Senator Anthony Canella. The bill would relieve San Benito County from having to reimburse the state $3.5 million – money that could instead go critical community services.
Making the case for AB 440 were SEIU Local 521 former Chapter President Martha Booker and current Chapter President Mark Patton.
Due to a longstanding error in property tax that affected multiple counties, San Benito was left on the hook to pay the state $3.5 million. While other counties have been forgiven, San Benito remains the only one still in debt, which deprives the county of crucial funding for community necessities.
Along with testimony by Mark Patton, several others gave bolstering testimony to support AB 440, including: County Board of Supervisors Anthony Botelho and Margie Barrios and County Administrative Officer Ray Espinoza.
Chapter President Patton’s testimony emphasized the community reliance on public services and urged for the restoration of public services and staffing. Supervisor Botelho’s testimony acknowledged the sacrifices members have been forced to make during the difficult economic climate.
SEIU 521 will continue tracking the bill in Sacramento to ensure it passes through the appropriations committee over the next few weeks. We will return to Sacramento, as needed, to continue reminding legislators of the vital services our members provide.
All of this is possible through COPE – making politics work for our communities and our members. Join COPE now to help continue fighting for working families and members by contacting your steward or Mark Weirick, Internal Organizer and get involved.