California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $489 million yesterday from the state budget passed last week by the state legislature. The cuts were directed primarily towards health and human services programs, and will eliminate all state funding for domestic violence shelters, reports The Sun. Shelters were preparing for the 20% funding cut proposed by the legislature, but will now be forced to close or seek new sources of funding, according to ABC Fresno.
Anastacia Snyder, Exectuive Director of Catalyst Domestic Services in Butte County, CA, told the Oroville Mercury-Register, “We’re still in shock. We were bracing for the 20 percent cut, but did not believe the governor could, with a clear conscience, cut 100 percent of funding for services that keep women and children safe and alive.” She added, “If the governor’s budget cuts are allowed to stand, victims will not have a place to turn for help and lives will inevitably be lost.” For many communities, the budget cut coincides with an increase in reported cases of domestic violence, reports ABC Fresno. Fresno has seen a 30% rise in cases of domestic violence over the past four months.
Other cuts made by the governor include $52 million from AIDS prevention, $25 million from clinics, and $50 million from Healthy Families, which offers health insurance to children in low-income families.