California Revenue Forecast Remains Dismal
Revenue collections in California are falling behind predictions and leaders in the Capitol are beginning to brace for more budget cuts in the coming months. Both individual and corporate tax revenues are more than $3.5 billion behind forecast, which most observers said were overly optimistic anyway.
Lawmakers traditionally do not focus on the budget until after the May Revise – when the governor updates his January proposal with actual figures from first-quarter revenue results. This year is no different with the added complication of an election year and the high probability of two tax measures on the November ballot.
Bishop Flores: Death Penalty Is Not Justice
In an op-ed piece written for the San Diego Union Tribune, Coadjutor Bishop Cirilo Flores outlines the moral, legal and financial problems with the death penalty.
“Since the death penalty was reinstated in 1978,” writes Bishop Flores, “the state of California has devoted more than $4 billion to carry out a mere 13 executions. For the same $300 million we spent per extremely rare execution, we could have funded a full K-12 education for 3,000 children. We could have provided after-school programs for over 200,000 students.
“Growing up in a barrio neighborhood in Riverside County, I saw firsthand how violence destroyed lives and families. I knew perpetrators and victims of violent crime, yet I came to the conclusion that the death penalty serves no one – not society, not victim’s families, not those seeking personal safety. We cannot teach that killing is wrong by killing.”
The SAFE initiative – to replace the death penalty with life without parole - has officially qualified for the November ballot. (Read the Conference’s statement
.) Click here
to read Bishop Flores’ entire op-ed piece.
Catholic Relief Services Appeals for Help in Sudan
The violence between Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan is escalating. The promise of lasting peace and stability after South Sudan peacefully seceded from Sudan last year hangs in the balance. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is one of the few relief agencies allowed to operate in the region and is trying to raise awareness of the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
While some humanitarian aid has been possible, the suffering and insecurity of the people in Darfur largely continues unabated. CRS is asking Catholics in the United States to stand with the Sudanese people and for peace by signing a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton, urging her to do what she can to promote peace, stability and a hopeful future for our Sudanese brothers and sisters. Click here
to view the CRS alert.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) also works on international issues. One of their blog posts this week is about Dr. Stephen Colecci, Director of International Justice and Peace: “The problem with this particular area is that it's so messy and tangled with politics, history, culture and the ever-changing realities on the 6 o'clock news that, for many Catholics, the issue is first to understand the issues before they can care about them.” Read about USCCB’s international work here