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Leading Health Experts Rally Behind Schools & Communities First

Public health and health care experts and workers emphasize the importance of Schools & Communities First and closing corporate tax loopholes

Today, the Schools & Communities First campaign and Human Impact Partners (HIP) hosted a press conference featuring leading public health and health care experts, and an essential frontline health care worker, who collectively emphasized the importance of Schools & Communities First for California’s recovery and reinvestment -- especially as we see unprecedented budget shortfalls for local governments, schools, and the state.

Schools & Communities First, which would generate billions for local governments and schools, would result in more investments and resources for public health and health care programs and workers. These cities, counties, and schools are on the frontlines of this crisis, and they need additional support more now than ever.

Below are some takeaways from the press conference, which can be viewed in full here

Anthony Wright, Executive Director of Health Access California

“We can close the corporate tax loopholes in order to support and invest in our public health, our critical local services, our schools, and our essential workers on the frontlines of this crisis. Schools & Communities First will generate billions for local governments to allocate toward public health and other health and human services that are more crucial than ever.”

Tracy Mendez, Executive Director of the California School-Based Health Alliance

“Just when we need caring health professionals at schools the most, schools and health care are facing massive budget cuts. Many school-based health centers have had to lay off staff, close their doors, or dramatically reduce their capacity. ... Schools & Communities First will help redress these imbalances and allow us to truly rebuild our state.”

Solange Gould, Co-Director of Human Impact Partners (HIP)

“Housing, transportation, economic development, climate change, and education. All of these local conditions are the primary drivers of health outcomes. That’s why, as a public health practitioner, it has always been an easy yes to supporting the Schools & Communities First initiative. We’ve all been hit very hard by this pandemic, but some of us especially so ... low-income workers, immigrants, and communities of color who don’t have adequate health care or paid sick days, and who are working essential jobs.”

Jennie Carreon, Executive Director of AltaMed Action Fund

“Local governments will soon, and right now, are seeing health care centers closing their doors because they can’t afford to stay open at this time when we can least afford it. The most beneficial aspect of Schools & Communities First for us is the fact that it gives us options.”

Kelly Zhou, Nurse Anesthetist at LAC+USC Medical Center

“We are short of PPE, and so it’s heartbreaking to see. … We don’t have enough N95s for our nurses who are taking care of COVID patients. … It’s crucial that we are really investing in our lives and our families’ wellbeing to take care of patients. We don’t mind, we love our jobs, we will continue to work. But we need those resources, we need that help.”

Schools & Communities First, the November ballot measure that submitted a historic 1.7 million signatures of support, would reclaim $12 billion every year for critical local services and schools by closing corporate property tax loopholes – all while protecting homeowners and renters, small businesses, and agriculture. Public polling recently showed a 7 point increase in support over the past few months for Schools & Communities First, while internal polling from January of the initiative’s ballot language that voters will see in November garnered 58% support from likely California voters.

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