Arnold unveils new deficit calculator

December 11, 2008 5:24:01 PM PST
The governor calls the inaction by the state legislature shameful and he's highly critical of his own party, saying Republican leaders are showing up at meetings unprepared. The deficit now stands at nearly $15 billion with the debt growing every day.

That $15 billion figure will double by the year 2010. Sales tax, income tax, and capital gains tax are all way down, while the state spending rate continues at $1.7 million an hour.

"And if we don't set aside our ideological differences and negotiate, we're heading towards a financial Armageddon," said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California.

Governor Schwarzenegger unveiled a new real-time budget deficit calculator that estimates the shortfall will grow to nearly $15 billion by June. It also keeps track of how many days it's been since he's asked lawmakers to act on the financial crisis at hand, while spending continues and tax revenues dwindle.

"What is amazing about all this is the Legislators act as if we have $30 billion in surplus," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

"We do have a significant budget problem," said State Senator Alex Padilla (D) of Los Angeles.

Lawmakers could make more budget cuts, raise taxes or both. A Senate budget subcommittee did meet on Wednesday, but no significant progress on how to stop the state's financial problems from deepening. Members balked at the Governor calling their job performance shameful.

"Sometimes the Democratic process isn't the quickest process. But the people sent us to Sacramento to solve a problem to work together, to arrive at a solution. Not to pit the Legislature versus the Governor," said State Senator Padilla.

"We have discussions going on in the background that I think are productive and will continue to be. Finger pointing doesn't help," said Assembly member Roger Niello (R) of Sacramento.

To keep as much cash on hand as it can the state leaders are about to stop funding $5 billion in infrastructure projects as early as next week. That would kill 200,000 jobs statewide.

California is also readying to issue IOUs instead of checks when state coffers run dry in February. And in a desperate move to prevent the state from going broke, it is talking about the possibility of shutting down some state services.

"We haven't had a decision about that. That's one of the things we're working on," said Mike Genest, the California Finance Director.
"How close is that possibility?" asked ABC7's Nannette Miranda.
"Almost anything is possible at this stage," said Genest.

"They got to get going and got to start negotiating and take this seriously, rather than play chicken, which is what is going on now. Who blinks first?" said Governor Schwarzenegger.

Well the governor has tried shaming and ridiculing lawmakers before, but that hasn't worked. The governors will meet with both parties tomorrow in another attempt to broker a deal.


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