Governor Proposes Another $3B in New Cuts

May 29, 2009 7:56:03 PM PDT
The state budget ax is cutting deeper and targeting what many consider the most vulnerable. On Friday, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) released another $2.8 billion in new cuts. That includes $550 million to children's social services, $680 million more to education, and $470 million in across-the-board pay cuts for state workers. The governor already had a $21 billion package of deficit-reducing solutions, but apparently it's not enough. His office says Friday's $3 billion in additional cuts is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

The doors to adult health day care centers would completely shut under the latest round of cuts proposed by Governor Schwarzenegger. Nearly 40,000 disabled Californians depend on them for meals, some medical care and social interaction.

"I don't know where they're going to go. How are they to get what they need? It's as though we're completely ignoring and devaluating an entire population," said Jennifer Crosetti from the Robertson Adult Health Day Care center.

The state's finances have been in a freefall for months, forcing leaders to beg, raise taxes, borrow and cut.

Last September, the projected deficit grew to $17 billion for the current fiscal year. Five months later, it was on track to balloon to $42 billion by next summer. And solving that wasn't enough; another shortfall of $24 billion will likely appear over the next year.

"The most important thing for us right now is to live within our means; not to spend money we don't have, for everyone to tighten their belts. I know people are upset," said Schwarzenegger.

Health care for nearly one million low-income children would also end. Education would lose another $680 million. And state workers' pay would be reduced 5 percent, that's on top of the two furlough days, which were already a 10 percent cut.

"I have two kids. My son is attending college so we have to pay a lot of money. And this 15 percent cut is really going to hurt," said Renyi Liu, a state worker.

Randall Jose may be hit with a double whammy, since he'll likely lose his in-home support service because the state is cutting off those with less severe disabilities and his adult health day care may shut down.

"A lot of handicapped people rely on programs like this and without it, we'll all just rot away," said Randall Jose, a disabled client.

State Controller John Chiang says California will run out of cash July 29th. State lawmakers have two months to defer another budget crisis.

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