California Budget: Schwarzenegger Declares ‘Day of Reckoning’

Since defeat of the propositions on May 19, the Golden State governor has said he will respect the “will of the voters” 602-184-HA1_5715_embedded_prod_affiliate_4but will have to bring forth the consequences surfaced from the voters’ rejection.  After a week-and-a-half of budget meetings – this morning Schwarzenegger, speaking before a relatively unusual joint session of the Legislature and other constitutional officers, discussed what programs will be terminated.

Declaring that “California’s day of reckoning is here,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that California’s budget crisis will require a transformation in state government and creates an opportunity to make government more efficient.

Among the reforms he said should be enacted are:

• Making school textbooks available in digital formats, freeing “hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used to hire teaches and reduce class sizes.
• Using privately run correctional facilities as part of an effort to reduce the cost of prisons.
• Giving local governments more opportunity to run things without interference from Sacramento.
• Giving school districts more flexibility “and not tie their hands with strict rules like who is allowed to mow the lawn or fix the roof or do the plumbing.”

Schwarzenegger also repeated his earlier calls for the abolition of some state boards and commissions, which he called “redundant,” and selling off some state property.

The governor’s speech comes just four months after he and lawmakers agreed to a two-year budget package that was intended to close a deficit of $42 billion through mid-2010.

You can view the text of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s speech to the Legislature HERE.

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