Schwarzenegger Calls for Deep Budget Cuts

May 14, 2009 9:05:48 PM PDT
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday called for laying off thousands of state employees and slashing billions from education to deal with California's latest budget deficit.The California economy has worsened since the governor signed the state budget three months ago. There are two proposed revisions: one fixes a $15 billion deficit, while the other one fixes a $21 billion deficit. Californians will have to make a choice.

Saying he has to level with Californians, Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled two revised budgets: a bad one and a really bad one.

Even after borrowing $6 billion the state will have to:

  • Send lay-off notices to 5,000 state workers, first thing in the morning.
  • Cut $3 billion from education that could shorten the school year by five days.
  • Reduce Medi-Cal payments to hospitals and family planning by 10 percent.
The governor also wants to earn more money by selling landmarks, like San Quentin Prison and the Los Angeles Coliseum.

"This is the harsh reality and the crisis we face, Sacramento is not Washington. We cannot print our own money or more money. We have to only spend what we have," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) California.

And if voters reject the budget-helping measures Tuesday, the financial problems worsen, The state would have to borrow $2 billion from local cities and counties, which use that money for public safety.

  • The state also would have to drop 225,000 poor kids from its health care program.
  • Cut $5 billion from education, which could shorten the school year by seven and a half days.
  • Release 19,000 undocumented inmates to the federal government.
Republicans are glad to see their push for smaller government is finally being heard.

"It's not any different that I think happens in your homes and businesses. And that is, when things get tough, you end up asking yourselves the harder questions," said GOP Caucus Chairman Sen. George Runner (R) Lancaster.

But the education community is reeling.

"Parents are beating up school boards for the cuts they're making locally. Those parents and communities should be here in Sacramento telling Legislators they've had enough," said Dennis Meyers from the California Association of School Business Officials.

"The numbers are the numbers. I do believe people have the right to have full information before they go to the polls," said Senate President Darrell Steinberg (D) Senate President.

Even after seeing the numbers, opponents to the ballot measures still believe the governor's budget revisions are scare tactics for voters to say 'yes' on May 19th.

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