The Governor's new spending plan outlines his vision for
closing the state's 19 billion dollar budget
gap. Schwarzenegger says he won't raise taxes, so after
several years of deficits and the worst economic downturn since the
great depression, he sees few options:
"I now have no choice but to stand here today and call for
the elimination of certain programs."
That includes CALWORKS, the state's welfare-to-work
program, as well as state-supported child care. His plan also
cuts mental health services by more than half.
"I see very clearly the faces behind those numbers. I
know how many people are suffering out there and how painful it's
going to be."
The Governor's plan also cuts the state's in-home supportive
services program and calls for pay cuts for state workers to
replace the current three-day-a-month furloughs. And he wants
to shift some prison inmates to county jails. Higher education
is one area that gets an increase - and parks - often on the
chopping block - are spared this time.
"shame on you, shame on you"
Outside the Governors' press conference, in-home care
workers protested the cuts. Teri Moreno cares for three
patients full-time in the Fresno area. She says cutting
in-home care will cost the state more:
"I feel it's important that these people need someone to
go in their home and take care of them because the state cannot
afford to put them in a group home or one of those convalescent
homes. That's 4 or 5 thousand dollars a month. They don't
pay me that to go in there. Come on, let's be
Inside, Democrats rejected the Governor's cuts.
"It's a non-starter."
Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg says the state should instead
delay corporate tax breaks and consider other tax increases:
"What kind of civilized society maintains business tax breaks and
eliminates child care?"
But Republican Assemblyman Jim Nielsen said the budget was in
line with GOP priorities.
"We're pleased that the Governor has not tried to balance
this budget with tax increases because that would not solve the
The Governor's proposal is a starting point for
talks. Schwarzenegger called this the most
challenging budget he's ever faced. And given the sharp divide
in the legislature, it may be the most challenging summer of budget
negotiations he's ever faced as well.