Governor’s Special Session on Budget Deficit Kicks Off Today
On Monday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) is slated to open a special legislative session on California's $6.1 billion budget shortfall for the current fiscal year, the Oakland Tribune reports (Harmon, Oakland Tribune, 12/5).
The estimate for the state's current deficit comes from a recent Legislative Analyst's Office report. LAO said the shortfall stems from overly optimistic revenue assumptions included in this year's budget package (Lin, AP/Contra Costa Times, 12/5).Â
In addition to the current shortfall, LAO projects that California will face a $19.3 billion deficit for the 2011-2012 fiscal year (Oakland Tribune, 12/5).
Schwarzenegger's Proposal Expected To Include Cuts
Aaron McLear, spokesperson for the governor, said Schwarzenegger's new budget proposal likely would include "ugly cuts." Many Democrats are concerned that Schwarzenegger's plan will include cuts to health care and social service programs that the governor supported in previous budget negotiations.
Since 2009, Schwarzenegger has cut nearly $1.5 billion in state spending, including funding for HIV/AIDS services and other health care programs. The governor said he made the cuts to boost the state's reserve fund (Goldmacher, Los Angeles Times, 12/6).
Many Lawmakers Unlikely To Act
Senate President Pro Tempore Darrell Steinberg (D- Sacramento) and Assembly Speaker John PÃ©rez (D- Los Angeles) have indicated that they will not work with Schwarzenegger on his final budget proposal. Last week, the two legislators announced their support for a lawsuit challengingÂ the line-item vetoesÂ that Schwarzenegger used to cutÂ nearly $1 billion from health care and social service programsÂ in the latest budget package (Oakland Tribune, 12/5).
Other legislators also are expected to hold off on budget negotiations until Gov-elect Jerry Brown (D) takes office next month.
Schwarzenegger called the special budget session on the same day that 28 new members of the Legislature will be sworn in. State law requires lawmakers to act on budget legislation within 45 days of the governor convening a special session, but Brown will take office before the end of the 45-day period (Los Angeles Times, 12/6).
On Wednesday, Brown plans to convene his own seminar on the state's budget deficit (Oakland Tribune, 12/5).
PÃ©rez To Introduce CalWORKS Child Care Bill
In related news, PÃ©rez plans to introduce a bill that would restore funding to a state program that provides subsidized child care for beneficiaries of CalWORKS, California's welfare-to-work program
Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto power to eliminate funding for the program effective Nov. 1. PÃ©rez is slated to introduce the measure on Monday, and lawmakers intend to take action on it next month (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/6).
Headlines and links to editorials about Schwarzenegger and the special budget session are provided below.
- "Editorial: A Harsh Welcome Awaits Rookies" (Sacramento Bee, 12/5).
- "Budget Candor?" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/5).
- "As We See It: Schwarzenegger's Mixed Record" (Santa Cruz Sentinel, 12/5).
Headlines and links to broadcast coverage of the governor's special session are provided below.
- "Gov. Calls Special Session" (Myers, "California Report," KQED, 12/3).
- "Transition of Power: Special Budget Session with Lame Duck Governor" (Russ, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 12/3).