More Cuts Underway if Measures Defeated

May 8, 2009 10:07:22 PM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger has already warned that hundreds of firefighters might lose their jobs if the budget balancing measures don't pass on the May 19th ballot.

There's a more complete list of things he'll cut if voters say no.

With less than two weeks left until the special election, the governor has been warning the state desperately needs those ballot measures to pass. But the clock is ticking and as it gets closer to the dates, the warnings are sounding more like threats aimed at voters.

If crime victims groups cringe when they see inmates being released early, they'll hate Governor Schwarzenegger's latest plan.

He's urging Californians to approve the budget-fixing propositions on the May 19th ballot, or else the sentences of 19,000 undocumented criminal immigrants will be commuted and turned over to ICE for deportation. Another 19,000 non-serious, non-violent offenders will just be let go.

That will save the state $700 million over two years.

"It is extortion. You're threatening us, you're telling us, you vote for this or else this is what I'm going to do with you," said Harriet Salarno from Crime Victims United.

The governor says he's just being honest. Without the propositions, there will be an immediate $6 billion budget hole.

With government services already cut to the bone, core services, including incarceration, will be affected.

"You have to cut the $6 billion from somewhere. So what will happen is, as we've done in the previous two years, we cut across the board," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) California.

"We'll have less resources for fire-fighting, we'll have less money to education. We'll have prisoners on the streets because we're going to have to let some folks out. So if that's okay with people, then vote 'no' and we'll stand by that," said the Governor's Press Secretary Aaron McLear.

Law enforcement thinks the plan means criminals will not have a parole officer checking up on them. It is a sobering thought considering the recidivism rate in California is 70 percent.

"If they are resorting back to their old ways, if they violate and don't make their appointments, if they don't make their drug screening, then we can go out and take them back in and put them back in for a period of time. Without that, we have much control over them," said Ron Cottingham from the Police Officers Research Association of California.

A new poll out by the Public Policy Institute of California shows five of the six propositions, the money-generating proposals, are losing badly.