Declaring that “California’s day of reckoning is here,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said today the state should turn its dire budget straits into an opportunity to make government more efficient.
Speaking to a rare mid-year joint session of the Legislature and other constitutional officers, Schwarzenegger acknowledged the billions of dollars in spending cuts he has proposed to close a $24.3 billion hole in the budget will be devastating to millions of Californians.
“People come up to me all the time, pleading ‘governor, please don’t cut my program,'” he said. “They tell me how the cuts will affect them and their loved ones. I see the pain in their eyes and hear the fear in their voice. It’s an awful feeling. But we have no choice.
“Our wallet is empty. Our bank is closed. Our credit is dried up.”
According to DDay at Calitics, he is still playing games:
He has engaged in several tricks to actually slow down the dispersal of the cuts, priming himself for the moment when the Legislature must hurry up and approve everything he proposes immediately. It’s a neat trick. He released the cuts in stages, with multiple changes, so the relevant committees could not get a full picture. Finally, the full release comes with a little more than a week to go.
One of the things Arnold is promoting is more privately run prisons, which gets me back to something I’ve been wondering about- every time the discussion of California budget or California politics comes up, the corrections officer’s union comes up, yet it occurred to me I really have no idea what the deal is, why they are so powerful, etc. Does anyone have a primer they can point me to, or care to discuss it in the comments or write a blog post I can link to and read?