State Budget Crisis Countdown

December 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
State leaders are counting down the days until they claim California will go broke.Governor Schwarzenegger's goal was to get a state budget deal by Christmas. Well, there's still no deal between him and the legislature.

So what are they fighting about? Taxes, spending cuts, and the environment.

Schwarzenegger wants a broader exemption from the state's environmental laws for highway projects which he claims will improve the infrastructure and create jobs.

"We need jobs right now. The people are the most important thing then we can worry about all the other regulations but let's get the people to work. That's the most important thing," said California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

As for taxes, Republicans are unwilling to agree to increases. But Schwarzenegger, a Republican himself appears willing to break with party ranks and go along with some of the Democratic tax proposals.

Among the ideas, a 13-cent hike for each gallon of gas. Then there's the question of whether California should seek federal bailout money.

But the governor this week has been firm. "We are not asking the federal government to make up for anything for our failure. We have to always first solve our own problems. Because we can do that... Right now what I'm talking about is self inflicted wounds."

Wounds that could leave California, the 8th largest economy in the world, broke.

The state controller said the state is just 2 months away from running out of money. Among the consequences; Tax refund checks next year could be delayed.

"That is especially not helpful in difficult economic times when families need the monies to pay their bills whether it's a rent bill or a mortgage bill, transportation or food," said State Controller John Chiang, "So, it's gonna have a strong impact in all our communities across California."

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