By Rory O’Sullivan
“What do we want?”
About 20 protesters chanted in harmony against budget cuts they said are leaving California’s most vulnerable homeless, hungry, and without healthcare.
“A fair budget!” They said in front of Rosa Parks State Building on West 4th Street with the wind howling as loud as they were.
“ When do we want it?” “Now!”
According to Maribel Nunez with California Partnership who helped organize the rally, there have been well over $15 billion cut from the social safety net between 2008 and 2011. The cuts have mainly been in education, health and human services, and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Javier Hernandez a 22- year-old student at San Bernardino Valley College has felt the effects of the budget cuts first hand. He is unable to get the classes he needs to further his education, so he can pursue his dreams of becoming a journalist.
He said he was protesting to to let, Gov. Jerry Brown know, “these cuts are hurting us, the people.”
He said he has had to wait behind up to 30 other students to get the classes he needs.
Brown’s budget for 2013-2014 is projected to increase general fund spending by 5 percent, from $93 billion in 2012-13 to $97.7 billion in 2013-14. The vast majority of the spending growth is in K-12, higher education, and health care according to an online statement from the governors office.
The spending is not enough for Nunez.
“We want to send a message,” said Nunez. “We want corporations to pay their fair share.”
The Budget includes $350 million to expand health care as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Vanessa Perez an advocate for homeless women and children at Time For Change Foundation said recent cuts have affected their ability to help those they serve.
“Cuts in essential programs such as Welfare and healthcare programs have drastically affected families we serve,” said Perez. “We receive phone calls daily from families...asking for any kind of resources just to make ends meet.”
San Bernardino resident Tracey Acevedo, 38, is one of those women. She receives $400 a month for herself and her 6-year-old daughter.
“I depend on Medi-Cal for me and my daughter,” said Acevedo with tears streaming down her face.
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