Hundreds of working moms flooded the capitol trying to head off cuts that might be in Governor Schwarzenegger's revised budget proposal, set to be released Friday.
Like many other social services, their subsidized childcare is on the line.
"I really feel scared. I feel really sad at the possibility. What that would mean for our family is going back onto welfare," said Jacqueline Buitrago, a concerned mother from Santa Rosa.
But Washington hasn't came to the rescue. The tax windfall never materialized. And Republicans refuse to vote for new taxes.
So that $20-billion deficit can only mean two things in the governor's plan: shifting funds by using accounting gimmicks, and deeper cuts.
"You're going to see some things that we would never have thought about doing. But unfortunately we only have a certain amount of money and we can only spend the money we have," said Aaron McLear, the governor's press secretary.
One source says public school funding will remain flat. No extra money means districts will have to make tough choices of their own.
"Very fearful," said Linda Colasito, a teacher from Ceres. "My district has already said they need an 8-and-a-half-percent pay cut from all of us."
Assembly Speaker John Perez (D-Los Angeles) already drew his line in the sand on what he will not tolerate in the governor's proposal.
"I will not look favorably on elements to solve the budget that do it on the backs of public safety," said Perez.
With July 1 around the corner, Republicans are upset budget negotiations haven't even started, even though they've all known the size of the deficit since January.
"Fifty days left and that we have not made the progress that we should be making," said state Assm. Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad).
One administration source said there will be one bright spot: Higher education will be the only category that will see a slight increase in funding.