SACRAMENTO, CA - Hundreds of low-income families throughout California marched around the Capitol to protest the proposed $500 million cut to subsidized childcare.
Without it, many said they'd have to go on welfare, which Marin County resident Alexis Robinson said doesn't make sense.
"Childcare keeps California working," Robinson said. "So without the childcare, it doesn't allow us to be able to continue to work."
Clearly these 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 hope we wouldn't have to be looking at more cuts," Sen. President Darrell Steinberg said. "But it's pretty clear we're going to have to."
"We will deal with it in the best way we can, trying to minimize the damage to people most in need," Steinberg said.
Wall Street is keeping an extra close eye on California's state budget this year.
Standard and Poor's doesn't like the fact that a judge took away the ability for lawmakers' pay to be docked for late 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 Bell Gardens resident Erika Burgos, 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 more advanced than regular kids," Gardens said.
While voters won't get to decide on Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative until November, maybe this month's Facebook IPO will bring much needed immediate relief to state coffers to save some programs.