Local News

Sep 16, 2010 9:12 PM by Danielle Lerner

Record state budget impasse in Sacramento having effects here at home

California's budget crisis reaches record-breaking proportions.

It is a milestone many hoped would never come, Thursday marks the longest budget impasse in California history.

The state budget is now 78 days overdue.

Democrats and Republicans are still debating whether new taxes or more spending cuts should close California's $19 billion deficit.

For the past decade Jerry Knuppenburg has fostered more than 50 children at his home in Paso Robles.Last year the state cut about $200 per child from his monthly budget, and as lawmakers square off in Sacramento it is hard to be optimistic.

"The kids still eat the same, they still need light to read books with," said Knuppenburg. "All food, electric, gas all that has gone up."

At a time when foster parents are in high demand, Knuppenburg fears the budget crisis will force him and others to shut their doors.

"It has got me to the point where I'm thinking is it really worth the effort," he said. "A lot of people would quit, they don't want to do it anymore because it costs too much."

Education is also suffering. At Cuesta College administrators say they won't be able to make payroll if the stalemate continues into next month.

"We've pretty much attacked most of the things that we have, and the rest is people," said Dr. Gil Stork, president of Cuesta College.

The college is still waiting on roughly $6 million in state funding. The school is looking into short-term loan options, but Stork says a drastic reduction in workforce could be on the horizon.

"Keeping up morale, keeping people's hope up is the real challenge right now," Stork said.

All of us may start feeling the effects of this budget impasse next month. That is when available tax funds to pay bills start to run out.

The chances of that happening are pretty good considering the leaders of the State Senate says the stalemate may not be resolved until after the November elections.

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