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Schwarzenegger on the Budget Deficit: We've Got Two Weeks or Else...

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Come June 15th--that's just 13 days from now--the state of California could be a path to having no money, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told the legislature yesterday. Tough choices lie ahead, such as those we've been hearing about since last week like the cutting of most all state parks and all of welfare. He's urging lawmakers to pass those budget proposals within the next two weeks, a short time to solve a $24 billion deficit.

But many are balking at that notion. "Should we be the only state without a safety net? Should we eliminate efficient programs that bring in federal money?" asked Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles. "The wholesale elimination (of welfare and health insurance programs) would completely reshape the state of California and I don't believe that reflects the quality of life Californians would like to have."

On the slate for legislative hearings this week will include tax increases on the alcohol and tobacco taxes. "Voters across the board support a number of these taxes, and they're taxes that won't affect everyday people in their ordinary lives," said Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, the Assembly budget chair.

If budget solutions are passed by the 15th, State Controller John Chiang will have enough time to obtain short-term loans from Wall Street, thus avoiding total bankruptcy and the continuance of paying bills.