Governor's Budget Could Affect Farmers

KFSN Governor Schwarzenegger spoke for about 45 minutes here, hoping to gain support from local lawmakers. Many supported the governor's budget cuts though the cuts could affect a lot of farmers here.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger walked into the Dinuba Cultural Center on Monday for an intimate meeting with about 40 local officials.

Gov. Schwarzenegger: "We have a shortfall or I should say $4.6 billion dollars less revenues coming in than anticipated."

In an effort to illustrate the budget crisis, the Governor used several charts to show how the state is spending billions more than it's taking in. He says the state will be in a $14.5 billion dollar deficit if budget cuts aren't made.

Gov. Schwarzenegger: You'll be bankrupt in no time. You can't do that, it's not fiscally responsible."

Schwarzenegger says raising taxes is "out of the question" and is asking for a 10% budget cut on most general fund spending.

Many local leaders questioned the Governor on how the cuts would affect the Central Valley.

Schwarzenegger's proposal means less money for Fresno State and other education and 22-thousand inmates being released from overcrowded prisons.

Phil Cline, Tulare Co. District Attorney: "We're obviously concerned about that. They have designated them as being non violent offenders however there are some people who are in prison for nonviolent offenses who prevent a danger to people in the community."

Cline says the budget proposal would also eliminate Tulare County's "rural crime program" which protects farmers and ranchers. The sheriff's office says over the last several years, agriculture crime has been on the rise.

Cline: "You talk about revenue our farmers and ranchers send an awful lot of tax dollars to Sacramento and they deserve to have their properties protected."

County Supervisor Steven Worthly says while the budget cuts will affect county health and human services, he's glad the governor is not cutting funding for several transportation projects in Tulare County.

Steven Worthley: "We have many road projects which are moving forward and this would be the worst of all possible years to lose that funding."

Tuesday the Tulare County board of supervisors will deliver the state of the county address which will include how several of the budget cuts will affect the community here.

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