California's Budget Woes a Cautionary Tale

It was gridlock on a San Francisco freeway after a truck spilled its load and there was no one to clean it up. Workers had to be called in from home because it was Furlough Friday, the day transportation workers are forced to stay home without pay, reports CBS News correspondent Sandra Hughes.

It's a sign of things to come. Welcome to the new California. From highways to schools to health clinics, cut backs to balance California's budget are deep and drastic.

"The damage is pretty serious," said Joel Kotkin, a presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University. "This is not just a minor illness that we have. This is pretty deep-seated disease."

Six billion dollars will be cut from kindergarten through community college education. Another $3 billion from state universities. That means fewer classes and 20 percent higher fees. That's $1,000 a year more for students like Whitney Thompson, a California State University senior.

"It brings tears to my eyes in just having to be in major debt and I mean it's really discouraging," Thompson said.

And $226 million cut from the state's in-home care program which reimburses Lisa Laster for caring for her mother Sara, who has Alzheimer's disease. Her fear?

"My mom having to go into a facility, and not getting the care that I know she is getting," Laster said.

The state is raiding $3.6 billion from city and county governments, half borrowed and half just taken.

"It's outrageous," said Zev Yaroslavsky, the L.A. County supervisor. "The problem is they are spending more than they are taking in."

Legislators are still battling over whether to release thousands of prisoners as a way to save more than $1 billion. California's governor tried to cut months of budget tension in a bizarre Twitter video:

"Hey guys, I just want to thank you for the great ideas you're giving me," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But no one here is laughing, especially when considering that these deep cuts might not make up for all the recessionary losses - leaving California short again, in just a few short months.
  • Sandra Hughes

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

On Twitter