California activists rally to raise awareness of $2.5 billion in potential 'trigger cuts'

Patient advocates, caregivers and students rallied Friday at a Los Angeles press conference against the up to $2.5 billion in anticipated cuts to state programs — including social services for the state's most vulnerable.

Up to $2.5 billion in so-called "trigger cuts" will happen if state officials determine by Dec. 15 that California has not received $4 billion in tax revenue. Among the first tier of automatic cuts is $100 million each to both in-home supportive services and developmental services.

Wheelchair-bound Cinde Soto attended the downtown press conference and spoke against the cutbacks.

"I'm completely paralyzed from my shoulders down," said Soto. "I can't even scratch my nose if I wanted to. So any cut in hours I'm going to be in big trouble. My health and safety will be very much compromised."

Nancy Berlin, director of the California Partnership, said California politicians need to stave off the pending cuts by raising taxes.

"It's absolutely essential," she insisted, "otherwise we will have people with disabilities who will not be able to get their medications. They won't be able to be fed and cared for."

The press conference is one of five scheduled statewide this week to draw attention to the impending cuts.