Gov. Jerry Brown Thursday signed into law a group of bills that would reduce expenditures by $11.2 billion from the 2011-2012 budget, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Brown was negotiating with Republican lawmakers to drum up support for the other part of his budget plan -- asking voters to renew expiring taxes.
"This is an order of magnitude tougher than the cuts that we've seen in recent years," said Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project, a think tank that advocates for low-income families.
But things could get worse, Brown said.
"It's going to be much, much worse if we cannot get the vote of the people and the tax extensions," Brown said.
In July, welfare grants will be reduced 8 percent and parents will be removed from the welfare rolls after four years instead of five. State-subsidized child care for 11 and 12-year-olds will be eliminated and assistance for the elderly and disabled will be reduced.
Additionally, fees at community colleges will increase from $26 per unit to $36 per unit and $1 billion will be cut from the state's public universities.