California Budget: Governor Proposes Eliminating CalWORKS

The governor’s aides will give lawmakers a briefing today on details of cuts aimed at closing a budget gap that is $24 billion wide, by some forecasts. ‘The voters sent a very clear message to Sacramento: Live within your means, cut spending, slash the size of government, get rid of the waste and the inefficiency and don’t raise taxes,’ Schwarzenegger says.

Now, the Schwarzenegger administration proposed $5.6 billion in additional spending reductions to narrow the state budget deficit in lieu of floating additional short-term loans, including elimination of the state’s welfare-to-work program known as CalWORKS.

Dropping CalWORKS would save an estimated $1.3 billion next year and is the largest single piece of a 25-item list of additional spending cuts given to a two-house committee working on the budget deficit.

The deficit has been pegged at $24.3 billion by the Legislature’s budget analyst and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had wanted to cover part of it with some loans known as “revenue anticipation warrants” or RAWs, but abandoned that strategy last week after learning that the federal government wouldn’t back the loans. Without those guarantees, obtaining financing from private lenders was uncertain.

Slashing the state prison budget by an additional $788.5 million is the second largest item on the list.

The complete list may be found here.

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