California is currently saddled with at least a $21 Billion budget shortfall.
An angry electorate soundly defeated a slate of special election budget measures Tuesday, a decision that left Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state lawmakers holding virtually nothing but a scalpel to deal with California’s $21.3 billion shortfall.
Schwarzenegger, who dropped Election Day campaigning to attend a White House announcement on new auto fuel standards, was scheduled to return Wednesday to meet with legislators and discuss options for the budget.
The “big five” elected leaders — Schwarzenegger and the legislative chieftains from both houses — are slated to begin closed-door meetings today upon the governor’s return from Washington, where he spent election day after casting a last-minute absentee ballot.
On Thursday a small group of Senate and Assembly members will hold the first of what’s expected to be a slew of daily public sessions to wrangle over the details of the budget.
Schwarzenegger has called for cuts that would hit every corner of the state. He announced plans to lay off 5,000 of the state’s 235,000 workers and has proposed slashing education by up to $5 billion, selling state properties, borrowing $2 billion from local governments and potentially reducing eligibility for healthcare programs.
California voters are disgusted with the Pols of both parties who have taxed and spent the state into insolvency. There can be no more tax increases and so there will be cuts in programs and layoffs. Perhaps the feds and President Obama will bailout California with some funds, but, likely state employees and the schools will take the biggest hits.
As for the political climate, voters are angry and more angry than anytime since 1978 and Proposition 13. Look for a series of initiatives reining in the Democrat dominated California Legislature for 2010 and more intense scrutiny of candidates who will replace Governor Schwarzenegger next year.
Anti-tax and spend sentiment is brewing and will intensify over the summer.
Will it spread across the country, next Fall?