Valley Leaders Brace for Budget Cuts

FRESNO, Calif. Close to two dozen people gathered in front of the State Building in Downtown Fresno with a message for the governor. The cuts he's making will hurt those middle class families already having a hard time making ends meet.

Nayamin Martinez said, "I'm paying taxes. I'm working. I'm struggling to pay childcare so I can go to work. I'm struggling to pay monthly premiums which are over $12-hundred dollars because my husband is self employed. So I just don't think its fair the way things are being done by the state."

Assemblyman Juan Arambula expects the Central Valley to feel more pain from the cuts since many residents live in poverty, are unemployed and rely on government programs to get services they need. He said, "We're probably going to be hurt disproportionally more than other parts of the state."

Arambula wants to see even more cuts to prisons ... and less to the young and elderly. He said, "So I think we need to cut as much as possible. But be very careful about it because there are very vulnerable people whether they are seniors, children, or sick people who really need help and I want to cut in other parts of the budget so we can still provide that safety net for those that really need it."

Valley Assemblyman Mike Villines said the proposal will hurt single parents the most. He hopes the state legislature will clarify more in the future who they are committed to helping most and what areas can still be trimmed. He said, "You are going to have less access and less people being able to get to those services. The problem is as a state we have not defined our priorities very well. We have not said who are we going to take care of for example foster kids should be who we take care of. There should be no cuts that's something we should do. We've not done that in the good years or the bad."

Both legislators said the governor faced tough choices. They will have the opportunity to fine tune and review his proposal before any budget is passed.

Villines said he thinks it's critical for the governor to keep those tax credits in the budget for small businesses. He said the incentive is the only thing keeping many smaller Central Valley businesses going during the economic slump. He fears without them, many more businesses that are employing people will close.

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