Los Angeles, CA — In the wake of the defeat of all but one of the initiatives on Tuesday’s ballot, the state of California faces a $21.3 billion deficit, and legislative leaders met yesterday with Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to begin to look at ways to close the budget gap.
Had the initiatives passed, they would have provided about $6 billion in revenue and left the state with a $15.4 billion deficit, according to the May revised budget the governor released last week. But voter’s resounding defeat of Propositions 1A-1E, combined with state income tax revenue coming in at its lowest point since 1938, has sent the deficit spiraling up.
“It seems to me if you look at the votes from 1A to E and juxtapose that to 1F, what you see is that the general public is pretty disgusted with the governor and with the legislature and with Sacramento in general,” said Margaret Blue, dean of undergraduate studies at Cal State University Dominguez Hills and a professor of political science specializing in California politics and government.
“I’m not a big fan of the initiative process, but they (voters) really relish their role in being able to override the kind of things the legislature does and the governor does. They don’t seem to take serious what they’ve been told about the eventual consequences,” continued Blue, who pointed to Prop. 13 as a perfect example of that disbelief.
“. . . That’s sort of true in this case as well. I think there is a threshold, and I’m not quite sure how to determine what that threshold is, but (at that point) the general public ceases to support what is going on with politicians,” added Blue, who has studied Proposition 13 and its impact extensively.
Blue said she did not consider the ballot propositions the best in the world, but noted that they were the only ones offered.
In his revision of the 2009-10 budget released May 14, among the proposals the governor put forth are obtaining up to $6 billion through a Revenue Anticipating Warrant, which means selling “financial instruments” to raise immediate cash, and repaying them with interest within a short period of time.
Other proposals include reducing the number of children who qualify for the Healthy Families by 225,000; rolling back rate increases for family planning services; cutting Medi-Cal payments to private hospitals by 10%; reducing the state workforce by 5,000 general fund employees; selling seven state-owned proprieties including San Quentin State Prison and the Los Angeles Coliseum; cutting education funding by an additional $2.3 billion; eliminating outreach funding for UC and CSU higher education; entirely eliminating funding for substance abuse treatment, crime prevention and HIV education and prevention; and borrowing $2 billion from local governments.