Gov. threatens big cuts if props don't pass

May 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Gov. Schwarzenegger plans to unveil Thursday which state programs will suffer the most if the special election ballot measures fail next Tuesday. He is also expected to propose selling the Cow Palace in Daly City, San Quentin State Prison, as well as the LA Coliseum, according to the Los Angeles Times.

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The governor says if next Tuesday's propositions fail 17,000 firefighters may have to be cut, 38,000 prisoners may have to be released early and schools will see bigger classes and fewer teachers.

But at California State University campus, where student fees would almost certainly raise even higher, ABC7 found a lack of concern. And in Corte Madera, just across the way from San Quentin prison, people do not seem worried about prisoner release.

At Redwood High School, teacher William Crabtree says he is voting for the measures, but thinks most in the community will not.

"I think there's kind of a palpable mistrust of Sacramento," Crabtree said.

That is exactly what ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain is saying.

"There's still the belief out there that if only the government were more efficient, we wouldn't have this structural deficit," Cain said.

Cain says it is not supported by the facts, but it is the line opponents are pushing.

Wednesday morning on Ronn Owens' radio show, Eric Beach of Californians Against New Taxes said there is no need to hike taxes.

"There are all kinds of services that the California taxpayer is being asked to pay for out of their own pockets, that they can't afford during this economic downturn," Beach said. "There are a lot of services you can do without, if you go to the state agencies, the Department of Fish and Game, I don't know what their budget is; do they need full time staff there, how much are they getting paid, is it $300,000? I don't know the answer to that."

In fairness to the Department of Fish and Game, Beach was not accusing them of waste. In fairness to Beach, it is a hard question; the sort the state legislature has been kicking down the road for years and which may now be coming to a head.

"Do we want these programs, and therefore have to pay more taxes, or do we not want these programs, in which case we're going to make massive cuts including the services at the local government level and elsewhere that people want," Cain said.

Cain points out Republican lawmakers in Sacramento have installed hardliners in their leadership and appear committed to no tax increases.

Of all the people ABC7 talked to Wednesday, just one person said she was supporting all the ballot measures; the great majority did not know what was on the ballot or how they were going to vote.

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