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Schwarzenegger outlines drastic budget cuts

The governor would slash billions from schools, release prison inmates and lay off workers.

May 15, 2009|Michael Rothfeld

Polls show California voters ready to reject Propositions 1A through 1E. They include, among other ideas, altering the state lottery, extending recent tax increases and diverting money from voter-approved programs, and account for $6 billion of the deal Schwarzenegger and lawmakers reached in February.

"We view what's occurring right now as little more than a Hail Mary pass to try to get the voters to buy off on these ballot propositions," said Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Assn., which is campaigning against the measures.

But Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview that if the measures fail, the consequences will be real.

"There are no gimmicks to pull," she said. "I do hope in these last few days before the election voters will see how serious this is. If they don't, I believe we will have very angry Californians when we actually move forward with some of these cuts."

The governor, who has been arguing strongly for a system to limit spending and create a rainy-day fund in Proposition 1A, acknowledged that he wanted voters to know "how this election will affect your child's school, your roads, the safety of your neighborhoods, the future of your state."


Times staff writers Eric Bailey, Patrick McGreevy and Evan Halper contributed to this report.



Worst-case scenario

The governor has proposed deep cuts to close a projected $21.3-billion budget gap if the measures on Tuesday's ballot fail, as polls suggest is likely. Some examples:

- Cut $5 billion from spending on public schools

- Eliminate health coverage for 225,000 children by tightening eligibility for the Healthy Families program

- Reduce funding for child welfare services by 10%

- Transfer 19,000 illegal immigrants in state prisons to federal custody

- Change the law so that up to 23,000 low-level offenders could be sent to county jails rather than to state prisons

Source: California governor's office

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