Joe Nelson, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/30/2012 02:04:14 PM PDT

San Bernardino County stands to lose $60 million in funding for its welfare and food stamp programs and would likely have to eliminate hundreds of positions under Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal, officials said.

According to a memo from the county Department of Legislative Affairs, Brown’s revision earlier this month to the 2012-13 state budget – the May Revise – could mean for the county a $126-million reduction in program and administrative funding, a $1.7-million revenue shortfalland a potential reduction of 275 county positions.

The county’s Transitional Assistance Department estimates Brown’s proposal would result in a $6-million reduction in administrative funding for its food stamp program, which could mean

a reduction of about 75 positions. In addition, Brown’s proposal would mean a $54-million reduction in program and administrative funding for the county welfare division, which would reduce benefits for 28,556 families and eliminate benefits for 5,001 families.

Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Josie Gonzales said the proposed reductions would be “catastrophic” for the county and is an example “out-of-control cuts.”

She said the state needs to be more diligent in trimming fat from the budget, not meat, and be held accountable by the public for its actions.

“These (proposed) cuts are based on what? Did they check on programs that are redundant, that are duplicated, that supplant other programs?” Gonzales asked. She said she wants to see a list of all the cuts the state has made thus far to make her own assessment.

The county has suffered a double-whammy of high foreclosure and unemployment rates since the economy tanked in 2007, leaving the Inland Empire one of the hardest hit in the nation with an unemployment rate surpassing both state and national averages.

“Our homeless numbers are rising, our unemployment number are risings, children are living in garages and families are bundled up. Where are we to turn?” Gonzales asked. “This budget is serving no one. It certainly takes away even more.”

Brown’s May Revise projects a $15.7 billion budget deficit, much larger than the projected $9.2 billion deficit in his January budget. He blames the expanded deficit on overly optimistic revenue projections, higher costs to fund education and decisions by the federal government and courts to block certain budget cuts.

Supervisor Neil Derry praised Brown’s proposed cuts to welfare and food stamp programs, saying the county spends roughly $100 million a year alone on welfare benefits for children of illegal immigrants.

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