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Schwarzenegger Proposes $12.4 Billion in Cuts to Help a 'Fruit'-less California Economy

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Schwarzenegger presents his "May Revise" Budget (Photo by Justin Short, Office of the Governor)

Schwarzenegger presents his "May Revise" Budget (Photo by Justin Short, Office of the Governor)
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger presented his new state budget, called the "May Revise," yesterday, which includes several "severe cuts" to programs and funding he believes will help solve the budget crisis.

Schwarzenegger said he believes "hat the budget should be a reflection of what we in California value most and also it should be a representation of what our administration stands for, in good times or in bad." Since these times are admittedly bad, however, he went on to explain that he attributes our current predicament to the lack of reform present in the previous ten years:

"I now have no choice but to stand here today and to call for the elimination of some very important programs. If we had reform in place we would not be facing the 'Sophie's Choice.' It is clear that if for the last 10 years we would have had these budget reforms in place we would have $10 billion less in the budget deficit."
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The Governor went on to use an agrarian metaphor to describe how decidedly un-bountiful our current state economy is, and to qualify his recommendation for $12.4 billion in cuts: "California no longer has low-hanging fruits. As a matter of fact, we don't have any medium-hanging fruits. We also don't have any high-hanging fruits. We literally have to take the ladder away from the tree and shake the whole tree. We must make very difficult decisions."

He outlined some of the cuts as follows:

  • Reduce Health and Human Services, including eliminating CalWORKs,
  • Eliminate 60 percent of funding for Community Mental Health,
  • Eliminate child care funding except for preschool and after-school programs,
  • Downsize some of our natural resource programs and the list goes on and on.

"We cannot go on like this any longer," Schwarzenegger said, urging legislators on both sides of the aisle to pass not only his budget, but reforms. He is expecting a budget to be presented to him by June 15th, and hopes to sign one into law by June 30th, prior to the start of the new fiscal year.