This week, the California budget crisis will take center stage.
A new legislative session starts on Monday, December 6th, with new members being sworn in. And they’ll get right to work: Governor Schwarzenegger has called a special session around the budget, according to his weekly radio address:
“California faces a potential $6 billion deficit in the current fiscal year, which ends on June 30, 2011. So on Monday, I will call an emergency special session of the legislature. This will allow us to address the problem immediately. As a matter of fact, if you want to hear more about my proposals, I will hold a press conference at 1 p.m. on Monday. You can watch that press conference at gov.ca.gov. The bottom line is with a $6 billion deficit we will have to make more cuts.” said Governor Schwarzenegger.
Such a mid-year cuts package raises problems even beyond the specific cuts that it would include–because it would give the Governor the ability to make additional “blue pencil” line-item vetoes beyond any cuts sent to the Governor. Even if legislators agree to cuts–cuts that they previously rejected as too severe, they may be appropriately concerned to give the Governor a blank check to make even deeper cuts or zero out key programs.
But regardless of Schwarzenegger’s plan, there’s real action coming. Governor-elect Jerry Brown is set to host his own budget forum in Sacramento on Wednesday, December 8th, at Memorial Auditorium in Sacramento. He is reported to fully lay out the budget problem. Other forums are scheduled for a Bay Area one that would focus on health and human services, as well as another Los Angeles forum.
We’ll report more about this week’s big budget news on this blog and elsewhere.