California News

Low-income families protest proposed cuts

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Hundreds of low-income families throughout California marched around the Capitol to protest the proposed $500 million dollar cut to subsidized childcare.

Without it, many say they'd have to go on welfare, which Alexis Robinson of Marin County says doesn't make sense.

"Childcare keeps California working. So without the childcare, it doesn't allow us to be able to continue to work," Robinson said.

Clearly the low-income families need the program. But given California's finances, budget cuts may be inevitable. April is usually the biggest tax month for the state, but receipts were very disappointing - about $2 billion below expectations, making the total budget deficit around $11 billion or so.

"I'd hoped we wouldn't have to be looking at more cuts. But it's pretty clear we're going to have to," said Senate President Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento.

Wall Street is keeping an extra close eye on California's state budget this year. Standard and Poors doesn't like the fact that a judge took away the ability for lawmakers' pay to be docked for late budgets or budgets that aren't balanced, opening the door for a spending plan full of accounting gimmicks and a credit downgrade.

Controller John Chiang has been warning Sacramento the cuts should have been made months ago.

"Anytime you delay and kick the can down the road, it makes decision-making later much more difficult," Chiang said. "If you wait longer, you're going to have to cut more deeply."

Deeper cuts worry Erika Burgos of Bell Gardens, who might lose the program that might have given her 2-year-old a leg up in life.

"Thanks to childcare, kids get a better education and get developed more and once they go to school, they're a little bit more advanced than regular kids," Burgos said.

While voters won't get to decide on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative until November, this month's Facebook IPO may bring much needed immediate relief to state coffers to save some programs.

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california state assembly, california state senate, budget, economy, california news, nannette miranda
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