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Schwarzenegger to seek federal help for California budget

Facing another huge deficit, the governor wants $8 billion or threatens massive cuts in social services. He also plans to renew push for offshore oil drilling.

December 23, 2009|By Shane Goldmacher and Evan Halper

Jim Earp, executive director of California Alliance for Jobs, a group that advocates for public works spending -- including on transportation -- derided the plan as a scheme "to rob Peter to pay Paul."

"We're not solving any problems. We're just moving money around from one cup to another," Earp said.

One new source of revenue in the budget: Schwarzenegger will revive a plan to allow offshore oil drilling from an existing platform off the Santa Barbara coast. The proposal was so controversial during last summer's budget debate that after the Assembly voted down the plan, members expunged the vote, erasing it from the public record.

Bill Magavern, a Sierra Club lobbyist, said the drilling proposal has already been rejected by the State Lands Commission, which typically has jurisdiction over such matters.

"This would be the first new offshore oil drilling in state waters in decades," he said. "It is something that should be considered on the substance at the State Lands Commission. It should not be decided as part of budget politics."

Schwarzenegger would count $200 million in revenues from the new oil drilling for the budget.

Most of the governor's plans probably will confront stiff legislative opposition. That includes his proposal to continue the furloughs of state workers, which he implemented through executive order this year.

"We need to find an alternative for one or two days," Steinberg, the Senate leader, said last week. "Beyond one day is just unfair and fiscally it doesn't make sense."


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