State budget cuts affecting services all over the Valley

FRESNO, Calif.

The state once again faces some difficult spending cuts, and it looks like several social services are on the chopping block.

Governor Jerry Brown unveiled his 2012-13 budget Thursday afternoon.

The state's budget deficit for the fiscal year starting July first is estimated to be $9.2 billion. That's far better than the $26.6 billion deficit this year.

The list of cuts is extensive. Those who will feel the biggest impact, include Valley veterans, welfare recipients, as well as students if voters do not approve Governor Brown's proposed tax measure.

The New Year got off to a rocky start Thursday, as Governor Brown announced his plan to cut the state's multi-billion dollar deficit.

Gov. Jerry Brown said, "This is not nice stuff, but this is what it takes to balance to budget."

Welfare will be hit the hardest. Brown is calling for nearly one and half billion dollars in combined cuts to the Welfare-to-Work program, as well as subsidized child care. That means many people who receive job and child care support, will now have to pay for it on their own. And State welfare workers could lose their jobs.

Demetrio Campos said, "Even if they are working, we can't offer them the child care they would need to go to work. Also, some of the problems clients have, barriers, we're not going to be there to offer those services that easily to them."

The proposed budget also puts several projects on-hold, including the long-awaited veterans' home in Southwest Fresno. Assembly member, Henry T. Perea says while the facility is nearly complete, it likely won't open until 2014.

Henry T. Perea said, "I mean the federal government has spent millions of dollars building this thing, and now it's going to sit there empty, that makes no sense, when you have so many veterans coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq who desperately need that care."

The governor's proposal also includes a round of "trigger cuts" if voters don't approve his tax initiative. Those would include another $200 million in cuts, each to the University of California and California State University systems.

In a statement, Fresno State president, Dr. John D. Welty said in part, "Today's announcement merely continues the longstanding climate of economic uncertainty for our campus, but especially for our students, and that is disappointing."

As for Governor Brown, he says while the proposed cuts are difficult, they're necessary. "We're making some painful reductions."

Voters will have a chance to decide on that tax measure in November. Meanwhile, the final budget has to be adopted by June 15th.

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