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Legislative leaders condemn governor's budget cuts [Updated]

The Democratic leaders of California's Legislature today protested Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's line-item veto of nearly $500 million in budget cuts beyond what the Legislature passed last week. Here are their statements.

Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D- Los Angeles):

“It’s a shame Gov. Schwarzenegger is so eager to tear down the safety net that he appears willing to break the law to do it. I am asking legislative counsel for a definitive opinion on the legality of the governor’s actions. The cuts the governor made today will have catastrophic effects on children, domestic abuse victims and seniors. The cuts the governor made today have broken the lifeline to the state’s most vulnerable and under-served. We sent the governor budget solutions that solved the deficit. He knows that. He knows we pledged to work with him on building up the reserve in August. He knows all that and still chose to take punitive measures against children and AIDS patients. It wasn’t too long ago when a 24-year-old woman born with HIV pleaded with legislators not to adopt the governor’s proposal to eliminate the program that provides the drugs that keep her alive. It wasn’t too long ago when a disabled woman, needing both the assistance of a wheelchair and oxygen, pleaded to stay out of a nursing facility in the event her in-home assistance would be eliminated by the governor.
“Throughout the past several months, Democrats in the Legislature worked to spare these vital services from elimination. The governor’s actions today have not just caused harm; his actions today put lives in jeopardy. He is cutting funding for the Black Infant Health Program at a time when African American babies have a mortality rate three times higher than white babies. The governor is choosing to make devastating cuts to child welfare services, leaving children and foster kids vulnerable. Earlier in the budget process, the governor threatened to veto bills that charged oil companies the same fair share severance tax they pay in other states and to levy tobacco products for the harm they inflict on the healthcare system and the state’s general fund. Had the governor not stood up for big oil and big tobacco, these devastating cuts also could have been avoided.
“The governor said he wanted to take on waste, fraud and abuse, but that appears to have meant taking on victims of domestic abuse. That’s shameful, but not totally unexpected from an administration that has been historically hostile to safety net programs. His Republican colleagues in the Legislature blew up their deal and the governor takes it out on the sick, the young, the elderly and battered women—all cuts he has been dying to make since his May budget revisions. For our part, my colleagues and I will move forward to restore any of these unnecessary cuts that are found to be legal and build a responsible reserve to accompany the full deficit solution we sent the governor last week.
“I do also have to say this kind of game-playing by the governor doesn’t bode well for success in terms of water, corrections, pensions or any of the other items the he is looking to in order to build some kind of real legacy. He and his staff may be lighting cigars to celebrate these cuts, but they should also be concerned about the devastating harm they are causing—and about burning their bridges.”

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento):

“We will fight to restore every dollar of additional cuts to health and human services. The Senate held the line and passed a budget revision package with a sufficient reserve that met the governor’s test.
"We question whether the majority of these vetoes are legal. 
"The governor has the right to blue-pencil an appropriation. The funding levels identified in the budget revision in many cases are not new appropriations.
"This is not the last word.”

[Updated 5:32]

The Senate approved the entire budget deal that the leaders struck with Schwarzenegger last week. But the Assembly rejected two provisions worth $1.1 billion.

In response to Bass' statement Tuesday, Schwarzenegger’s aides said she and the Assembly had forced the governor's hand.
“The governor understands how difficult these cuts are,” said his spokesman, Aaron McLear. “But because the speaker sent him an unbalanced budget, he had no choice but to make these cuts.”

--Times Sacramento bureau

Comments () | Archives (19)

What makes us any different than third world countries that will not or cannot provide survival services to their citizens?

This is "structural adjustment".

This is what happens when you play nice with Republicans.

What needs to be cut are services to non-citizens period, including the "anchor" The unions are demanding and offering zero in return. I will be glad to see the legislators going back to part time. Not soon enough for me.

I totally agree with the governor. The budget that was given to him was not balanced in the least. If legislators cannot cut enough, it is the constitutional duty of the governor to do so.

All the democrats can do is talk, talk, talk , and they can't do the walk. What the governor did is legal and everyone knows about it. If poor have such big problems with the state stopping pay for service that they should be paying them self for, they are welcome to move to another state

Shame on the Democrats in the California Assembly for voting against allowing additional oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast that would have generated $100,000,000 for the State Budget this year alone!! Drilling for oil in the ocean has become safer due to technological advances that make the chances of a major leak extremely unlikely.

All of the so-called saftey net programs are full of waste, abuse and outright fraud. I have see the fraud with my own eyes. The foodstamp, WIC and AFDC programs are the biggest they could be cut by 25 percent without a dought. We just need to help the people who really, really need it.

The Governor and the Legislature completely misunderstood the rejection of the ballot initiative earlier this year. It wasn't that the public was opposed to new taxes -- it was that we wanted the Legislature to act responsibly and deal with the situation using their best knowledge, instead of punting these complex issues to a relatively uninformed electorate.

Unfortunately, it isn't practical to initiate a recall election for both the Governor and the entire legislature, both Republicans and Democrats, as I might wish.

However, I would be eager to sign a recall petition for the Governor, who, true to his Republican mantra, favors the rich (oil companies, TV and movie producers, and the rich in general) while willingly throwing the poor and needy under the bus.

More importantly, I am now absolutely convinced that the time has come for a Constitutional Convention to solve these endemic problems once and for all.

1. The number of legislators should be increased by at least a factor of three and strict rules enacted to prevent gerrymandering of districts.

2. The requirement for a 60% super majority to pass a budget must be eliminated.

3. Proposition 13 must be overturned, in order to allow a more sensible balance between income taxes, which can be very variable, and property taxes, which are relatively stable.

The alternative, as someone suggested in the New York Times recently, is that in the event of a deadlock, the Democrats, the Republicans, and the Governor should each submit their version of a budget, and a randomly selected "legislative jury", consisting of at least 100 citizens, should pick which of the three plans should be adopted.

Another option, of course, is that the citizen of California march on Sacramento with pitchforks, rotten tomatoes, or whatever they choose, and physically throw the bums out on their ears.

In the meantime, my disgust with the process, and particularly with the Republicans, knows no bounds. I intend to move out of the state just as quickly as I possibly can.

Once upon a time, California was viewed as one of the greatest states in the United States, but no more. Now it is behind even Mississippi in almost every comparative measure that matters.

Thanks, Governor.

Please please please, Californians. Please stay in your own state and don't come bother anyone else. Well, maybe you can move to New York, but that's it. Thanks.

No choice? Yeah right Mr. Schwarzenegger... you attempt to justify anything!!

Have fun sitting in your hot tub smoking a stogie while Americans are left without vital services! I suppose you want them to put on their boots and pull those bootstraps tight!

What a joke!

More power to the Govenor. Someone has to have the guts to stop the wasteful spending this state continues to do. I'm sure the govenor did not like to cut any services to people but he is smart enough and has the balls of the terminator to make the hard decisions necessary to run a state like all of us have to run our households.....You have my vote Arnold S.

The Governator should be aprehended and thrown out of our beloved country. Send this worthless cigar smoking Austrian Immigrant back to where he belongs. Austria. If I ever see him on his Harley on my rearview mirror. You bet your lucky stars I am slamming on the brakes.....!

Who cares what our "legislative leaders" think? They don't care about the taxpayer. All they care about is feeding at the taxpayer trough.

Kudos to Karen Bass...
It is not all that hard for these people to make decisions when really, it doesn't affect them (e.g. the gov). They don't touch real people that are affected, they have no clue. Money rules everything...

Schwarzenegger decided to put the rich ahead of the disabled, the elderly, and the children. Poor people will die because these budget cuts will eliminate the assistance they need.

Everyone who voted for the guvernator should be ashamed.

Can we start throwing sick kids out in the gutters now? Maybe there's room for them on skid row.

I'm glad that someone finally had the backbone to challenge the leaches in this State. Since when did California become the Welfare State of the Union, or better yet the anti Marx State? I thought that evolution taught survival of the fittest? Clearly the Liberals like to pander to the poor, but have done nothing to resolve the problem. Since when do I have the obligation to support the poor outside of my Church? The State needs to get out of the Charity business because it can not do so efficiently like Churches do. Kill the welfare program and let the communities give to the needy.

To the Governor:

It is morally wrong to balance the budget on the suffering of the poor, the sick and the disabled. You and the legislature should be ashamed.

This is what happens when you elect movie stars to public office. GREY DAVIS, where are you???

i think the guvanator did not go far enough....cut the waste and fraud that is rampant in welfare government programs. get the chisslers off the public dole and make them work for a living and pay taxes..then they might not be so willing to give up the precious tax dollars for every sweetheart deal the politicians work out with their donor buddies.

It's not that he's lacking compassion. I agree with what the governor did. If he's like me, he recognizes that these government programs have become so horribly inefficient that they're no longer serving the american people. Bureaucracy is a disease; it's infected so many of our social programs.

Start from scratch and privatize everything. Only then will we be able to provide quality social programs to those who truly deserve them.


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