Governor Signs Budget

February 20, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
By signing the new budget, Governor Schwarzenegger closed the state's record $42 billion deficit.He also used his line-item veto power to cut out another billion dollars in state spending. He chopped 10% from the budgets of all Constitutional Officers, except Lt. Governor John Garamendi, a vocal critic of Schwarzenegger. He cut Garamendi's budget 60%.

The new budget is heavily dependent on voter approval. Among the financial measures on the May 19th ballot, Californians will be asked to borrow against lottery revenue so it can modernize and improve sales, allow flexibility in how the special tobacco tax is spent for children's programs and change how the mental health tax is distributed.

The most controversial is the proposal instituting a state spending cap, limiting the amount of money Sacramento doles out. The catch is: If it passes, the temporary new taxes end in four years. If the spending cap fails, those taxes hikes end in two years.

Taxpayer groups are already gearing a campaign against the spending cap, even though they've been pushing for one for years.

The Governor has already hired a team to convince voters they must vote "yes". They warn the deficit will come back if they don't support the money proposals.

Voters we spoke to today aren't very happy with either choice. The state spending limit is popular, but not at the expense of having to pay for tax hikes for a longer period.

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