Schwarzenegger to unveil his latest budget proposal
Deep cuts in state services -- even the elimination of some landmark programs -- are expected to be the foundation of the plan Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger presents Friday afternoon for closing the state’s multibillion-dollar budget gap.
The budget proposal will contain no tax increases, according to Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear.
Administration officials have declined to provide details of the programs the governor will suggest scaling back or abolishing, but McLear said the spending plan would include “absolutely terrible cuts.”
Programs the governor has signaled would be targeted include in-home healthcare for the elderly and disabled, welfare and other social services. Reductions for public schools are expected to be included as well.
The only area of the budget Schwarzenegger has singled out for increased funding this year is higher education. He said last month that he would veto any effort “to tinker around with” his proposal to give more to state colleges and universities.
California faces an estimated $18.6-billion shortfall, which amounts to roughly 20% of its general fund spending. Without raising taxes, balancing the budget would require cutbacks equivalent to releasing every prisoner in the state, closing state prisons and cutting off all funding for the University of California and California State University systems.
In January, Schwarzenegger said his administration would lobby the federal government for as much as $7 billion in assistance to limit the extent of the cuts. But Washington is expected to provide only about half that amount.
The governor’s spending outline will kick off the summer budget negotiating season in Sacramento, with lawmakers scrambling to craft a spending plan by the end of the fiscal year June 30. The Legislature has met that deadline only a handful of times in the last four decades.
-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento
Photo: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; credit: Los Angeles Times