Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday outlined his 2011 budget, offering no less than the promise of total desperation for low income families. The budget eliminates the state’s welfare-to-work program and cuts subsidized child care beyond preschool.
Eliminating CalWorks, the state’s cash assistance program, would affect 1.4 million people, two-thirds of them children. With 13 percent unemployment statewide and much higher levels for low-income workers, CalWorks is keeping many families above water. When coupled with slashes to subsidized child care, even those poor parents who can find work may be unable to take jobs, since their kids will have nowhere to go.
Schwarzenegger sounded pretty sad when he announced the proposed budget. “I have no choice,” he said, calling the cuts “a selfish choice.” The laments are rather meaningless. The governor prefaced his announcement by saying, “I believe that the budget should be a reflection of what we in California value most.” And to wit, Schwarzenegger and GOP lawmakers have vowed not to raise taxes for the rich, and instead plan to balance the state’s budget on those who are already carrying the heaviest load in the recession: poor families, especially those led by low-income, single mothers of color.
It’s not the first time the governor has attempted to eviscerate the program. A year ago, Schwarzenegger attempted to do the same, but Democratic lawmakers fought off the proposal. With fewer federal stimulus dollars flowing in this year, their efforts may be more difficult this time around.
Updated @ 11:55 am ET