66 Days without State Budget

September 4, 2008 9:57:13 PM PDT
The budget situation in California is becoming dire. Hundreds of state supported services are on the verge of shutting down because the state owes them billions of dollars. The day is on its 66th day without a budget.

The state is approaching uncharted waters. The latest a California governor has signed a budget is September 5th. Without a budget the state can legally not dole out funding.

While visiting a Southern California hospital, Governor Schwarzenegger continued to hammer his point: the longer this budget impasse lasts, the more harm lawmakers are causing to Californians who depend on state-funded services.

"All of those different people out there, that are not getting paid now, are suffering. I think that is a sad story. And I think we can do much better than that," says Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California.

Nowhere is the impact felt more than in facilities that are supposed to receive Medi-Cal funding. It's the only way the poor can get healthcare. Many are on the verge of closing, as loans and lifelines dry up.

"We can't keep our doors open much longer. I've got 50 people a day coming to my facility that I'm about ready to, frankly, bring down to the Capitol steps and park them at the front door, and say: 'Here. You deal with them,'" says Jim MacDonald, an adult day care provider.

LA County Sheriff Lee Baca worries how law enforcement is supposed to fight certain crimes.

"We have a serious methamphetamine problem. There are 350 police departments and 58 sheriff's departments that will have a lesser capacity to deal with just the problems of meth," says Sheriff Baca.

And 86,000 needy community college students face tough choices. Cal-Grant financial aid checks are being withheld for most of them until a state budget passes. It could mean taking fewer classes, doing without some textbooks or skipping an entire semester.

"It's not fair because a lot of the students, they need the money for their educational expenses. And school isn't cheap, nor free!" says Jaime Ruiz, a Cal Grant recipient.

No state payments have been going out since the start of the fiscal year on July 1st. If the state budget isn't in place by the end of the month, the state will owe $12 billion dollars to service providers.


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