After giving nearly $80 Million to illegal aliens from the cornovirus emergency funds, California governor Gavin Newsom doesn’t have the funds to keep a veterans nursing home up and running in the town of Barstow, in San Bernardino county. Shuttering the home will save the state $2.6 Million, as the state government searches for ways to close a multi billion dollar budget gap.
Released on Thursday, Newsom’s revised budget proposed to “initiate the closure” of the Veterans Home of California-Barstow and a one-year delay for realignment at VHC-Chula Vista and Yountville.
If approved, the changes would net state General Fund savings in Fiscal Year 2020-21 of $2.6 million, according to the revised budget. Long-term savings that would result from the Barstow facility’s closure are expected to be $14 million annually.
In total, the governor’s revisions would slash $6.1 billion from the state’s budget. The cuts are part of a plan to cover a $54.3 billion budget deficit caused by plummeting state revenues after a mandatory, statewide stay-at-home order forced most businesses to close and put more than 4.7 million people out of work.
Overall, the $203 billion spending plan is about 5% lower than what lawmakers approved last year.
City officials in Barstow, meanwhile, aren’t ready to give up the facility that was founded in 1996 as the second home for veterans in California and, at the time, the first built in more than 100 years.
“The City of Barstow will write a letter to Gov. Newsom pointing out the necessity of the Barstow Veterans Home,” Barstow Mayor Julie Hackbarth-McIntyre told the Daily Press. “We’ll also encourage our surrounding cities, the County of San Bernardino and local citizens to do the same.”
But a Department of Veterans Affairs letter sent to the “Barstow Veterans Home Family” on Thursday discusses the closure as if it were a foregone conclusion.
In the letter, which was obtained by the Daily Press, CalVet Secretary Vito Imbasciani said, “While this closure will be difficult for all of us, it is not entirely unexpected.”
“The Veterans Home of California Master Plan 2020 detailed that Barstow does not meet the criteria for an ideal veterans home location,” Imbasciani wrote. “The area does not have a large veteran population and the Home routinely has critical vacancies; the home is 90 minutes away from the nearest VA medical center; and among other issues, the lack of local nursing programs or a sizeable workforce makes it difficult to recruit for many positions.”
Assemblyman Jay Obernolte came out firing against the proposal to shut down the nursing home:
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