Tulare County is the agricultural hub of the Central Valley, and after the droughts of the last several years, that means many of its residents rely on government aid to survive. However, with a potential “cut, slash and burn” budget (as Governor Brown describes it) looming, the county could be hit harder than other parts of the state.

And the cuts to the community college system have limited the opportunities to attend class and earn the education that has for generations promised a better life and a better job.

The County’s public safety employees could be on the chopping block, as are cuts to its health and human services. Food stamp applications are up 60% in the county. Should there be further cuts, it could spell disaster for the county’s neediest.

From the Los Angeles Times:

The vast fruit fields, picturesque farmhouses and rolling foothills of Tulare County mask an ugly reality: Nearly a quarter of the population in this Central Valley agricultural hub lives in poverty, and one in three residents receives state aid – the largest proportion in California.

With the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown slashing billions of dollars in government services to help balance the state budget, few places will feel the effects more deeply. Local officials fear that when roughly $8 billion in budget cuts take effect, some as early as July 1, the poorest residents will tumble into homelessness.

For Patricia Dickerson, a mother of five who has been unable to find work since losing her job two years ago, the coming $60 reduction in her monthly welfare payments may mean a shutoff of her electricity.

Read the full article here.