Schwarzenegger Warns of More Budget Cuts if Propositions Fail
On Tuesday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's (R) administration began detailing contingency plans for addressing the state budget deficit if voters reject measures on the May 19 special election ballot, KQED's "Capital Notes" reports (Myers, "Capital Notes," KQED, 5/5).
Aaron McLear, a spokesperson for the governor, said the governor's aides are informing various groups of likely budget cuts if the ballot measures fail. McLear said the cuts would affect all areas of state government, including health care (Yamamura, "Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/5).
The governor's office also is notifying state agencies that deal with health care, human services and education that deeper cuts and potentially thousands of layoffs could be on the horizon if the initiatives fail (Shadley, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/5).
Speaking at a Cal Fire facility in Davis Tuesday, Schwarzenegger said, "I think it is very important for people to know there are consequences if the initiatives don't pass."Â
The governor said the state would need to cut an additional $6 billion from the budget if voters do not approve propositions that would let the state borrow against future lottery revenue or tap into special accounts for mental health care and early childhood health care and education services.
Even if all of the budget-related measures on the ballot are approved, the state Legislative Analyst's Office estimates that California will face a budget deficit of at least $8 billion in fiscal year 2008-2009.
Polls indicate that none of the budget-related measures currently has sufficient public support to pass ("Capitol Alert," Sacramento Bee, 5/5).
Ballot Measure Details
Proposition 1C deals with the lottery.
Proposition 1D would shift funds from First 5, which was created in 1998 when voters approved Proposition 10 to increase the state tobacco tax to fund early childhood health care and education programs.
In fiscal year 2009-2010, the measure would shift as much as $608 million in Proposition 10 revenue to the state general fund for other state health and human services programs for children who are not older than age five.Â The measure would shift as much as $268 million to the state general fund in each of the next four fiscal years.
The measure also would eliminate funds for statewide media campaigns and permit First 5 to allocate funding only for direct health and human services.
Proposition 1E would shift $226.7 million from mental health care programs that Proposition 63 funds to the existing Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment Program for low-income children for two years.Â
In 2004, voters approved Proposition 63, which increased the state income tax on high-income Californians to fund mental health services (California Healthline, 4/30).
Local Funds Come Into Play
The Schwarzenegger administration released a draft plan Tuesday that proposed shifting more than $2 billion in revenue earmarked for cities and counties to the state (Bailey, Los Angeles Times, 5/6).
The move would come under 2004's Proposition 1A, a constitutional amendment Schwarzenegger supported.Â The state would have to repay the money with interest within three years.
Going forward with the borrowing plan would require approval from a supermajority in the Legislature ("Capital Notes," KQED, 5/5).
If the borrowing plan is approved, the draft indicates that cities and counties likely would have to increases layoffs of public health workers, police, firefighters and other staff (Los Angeles Times, 5/6).
On Tuesday, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" included a segment on Proposition 1E, including comments from:
- John Buck, CEO of Turning Point Community Programs;
- Jan Emerson, spokesperson for the California Hospital Association; and
- Roxann Jeppeson, who receives services funded by Proposition 63 (Weiss, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/5).