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Additional state budget cuts pending

CalWorks, which provides assistance to 1,300 families in the SCV, is threatened by crisis

Posted: July 27, 2009 10:12 p.m.
Updated: July 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
The governor is due to make some additional state budget cuts today as he finalizes the Legislature-approved spending plan, and county officials are concerned that the needy could take a hit.

"They are being really tight-lipped" about further cuts, said Shirley Christensen, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services.

"We've already been hit substantially," Christensen said.

"If we were cut any further, we would have strong concerns about how to serve low-income families and the needy."

Among the most threatened programs is CalWorks, which provides public assistance to 1,300 families in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The budget approved Friday by the state Assembly was about $1.1 billion short of the goal because Assembly members refused to raid local transportation funding and wouldn't relax restrictions on oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast.

The $1.1 billion gap leaves Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the position of making cuts through line-item veto.

Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear said the governor is not expected to cut the full $1.1 billion when he signs the budget today.

The budget finally signed by Schwarzenegger is expected to be about $5.7 billion short of the amount school districts, including community colleges, anticipated when they drew up their own budgets in June.

"There'll be some more mid-year cuts," said College of the Canyons spokeswoman Sue Bozman. The college has already cut $11 million from its budget.

Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, R-Santa Clarita, has predicted lawmakers will be back crafting another budget in the fall because of declining state revenue.

And a bond analyst told The Associated Press on Monday the budget is filled with accounting tricks.

"The budget is probably the best they could do given this time, but nobody believes it is a balanced budget," said Matt Fabian of Municipal Market Advisors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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