Governor Issues Alarming Budget Forecast

May 14, 2009 11:53:00 PM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger said the state is in big trouble. In the hole anywhere from 15 to 21 billion dollars with no easy way out."This is the harsh reality, and the crisis we face. Sacramento is not Washington. We cannot print our own money or more money. We can only spend what we have," said Schwarzenegger.

The Governor has a long list of cuts, especially to education, and prisons. One plan to cut the school year by 5 to 7 days isn't sitting well with educators, like Laurie Goodman. Principal of Rafer Johnson Jr. High in Kingsburg.

"I believe that our students need every minute possible so they can secure their future. Cutting days down will not increase their achievement," said Goodman.

A proposal to let up to 38 thousand non violent prison inmates out before their sentences are up is also a big concern to State Senator Jeff Denham, a Republican from Merced.

"This is one that can't be on the table. We have to have a duty to the people of this state to make sure the public is safe," said Denham.

State workers are also on the block, with the Governor saying 5 thousand lay-off notices are the way. State Assembly Member Juan Arambula of Fresno believes the Governor has no choice.

"There's no way we can make 15 or 20 billion in cuts without making people upset," said Arambula.

In addition to cuts, the Governor has some ideas to make money, like selling San Quentin Prison, and the Los Angeles Coliseum. But critics, like John Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association said the Governor is presenting his May revised budget projects ahead of schedule, just trying to scare voters into approving several budget initiatives on the ballot next Tuesday.

"We view this as a Hail- Mary pass to try and get the voters to buy the ballot propositions," said Coupal.

If voters approve the ballot measures, the Governor projects the state deficit will be cut from 21 billion to 15 billion. But if, as expected, voters don't approve, then the state will be raiding city and county funds to cover two billion dollars of the difference. Meaning cuts, the Governor says, to police and fire services, parks and libraries. Those would be on top of the layoffs of state workers and cuts to education, prisons and health care.

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