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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

States in Crisis

Aired July 4, 2003 - 20:26   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: As we head toward night fall on this Fourth of July, just about everyone's thoughts turn to fireworks, of course. But cash-strapped towns and cities are cutting back or even canceling displays this year. That's a one-day savings and it is not enough, frankly. In our continuing series on states in crisis, Rusty Dornin looks at some proposed cuts in California that could drastically change people's live as well as their independence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LORI DANGERFIELD: What kind of hairdo today? What do you want today? That will depend how much time mommy has.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Time together is precious to Lori Dangerfield and her 18-month-old daughter, Taylor. A single working mom, Dangerfield gets three subsidies. One for child care, one that pays her to work at the community college, and one that pays her tuition, courtesy of California state grants. Grants that are on the chopping block if a budget in California is not soon approved.

DORNIN (on camera): But if this program is canceled, what happens to the child care money and...

RUTH DANGERFIELD, MOTHER: Our resources will become extremely tight.

DORNIN (voice-over): Things are already tight.

DANGERFIELD: Mommy's got to go bye-bye.

DORNIN: Dangerfield gets some additional financial aid.

R DANGERFIELD: Word by word it will be much easier for you.

DORNIN: Her 32-hour a week job at Modesto Community College pays her about $60 a month less than her rent.

DORNIN (on camera): Under the current budget crisis, how much longer can you continue to pay Lori?

BECKY PLAZA, MODESTO COMMUNITY COLLEGE: Based on the reserves we have here at the college, about two more months.

DORNIN: Then that's it. She loses her job.

PLAZA: As long as the state doesn't pass the budget, we don't get any payments, we don't have any money to continue the programs.

DORNIN (voice-over): No job means Dangerfield would be forced to move with her daughter and her mother Ruth. Her mother receives a subsidy through the program to care for Taylor. Money that doesn't just go for child care.

DORNIN (on camera): Do you need also that money as well?

R. DANGERFIELD: Because it goes into the household, we combine it. Everything goes like for the food, the utilities, the gas for her car, clothes for the baby, we just combine everything.

DORNIN (voice-over): Dangerfield is five classes away from her community college degree and has been accepted at the nearby state college. She wants to be a social worker, dreams that rely on her job and child care money. Dangerfield says she's a good investment, that if the state continues to help her graduate from college now, she'll never have to ask for assistance again.

DANGERFIELD: I know what I'm worth. And I know what I can do. And I know what I can contribute. And all I'm trying to do is get there. Just, you know, get me there, help me get there and watch me run.

DORNIN: If California doesn't run out of money first.

DANGERFIELD: I love you. Bye-bye.

DORNIN: Rusty Dornin, CNN, Modesto, California.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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