Schwarzenegger Places Budget Blame On Voters, Lawmakers

SACRAMENTO (AP) — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Friday pointed the finger at lawmakers and California voters for the $6 billion deficit in the state budget he signed just a month ago.

The Republican governor sought to deflect blame for the deficit, even though the rosy revenue assumptions he and lawmakers used were widely reported when they approved the $86.6 billion spending plan and Schwarzenegger signed it on Oct. 8.

“I think that the Legislature, as you know, did not finish their job the last time,” he told reporters Friday. He said he proposed $12.5 billion in cuts, but they agreed to cut only $7.5 billion.

When asked why he signed a budget that was inadequate, Schwarzenegger denied that he knew a deficit would open up almost immediately.

“Sorry to correct you, because we did not know when we did the budget that the people of California would vote in favor of not being able to take $2 billion from local governments,” he said, referring to voter approval on Nov. 2 of Proposition 22, which prohibits the state from borrowing from local governments.

“We also today, we don’t know if the federal government is going to give us the money that they owe us or not,” Schwarzenegger added.

Schwarzenegger and lawmakers had counted on receiving a total of about $5.3 billion in federal money in the current fiscal year. The state’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office said this week that California is unlikely to get about $3.5 billion of that.

The analyst forecast a $25.4 billion budget shortfall through June 2012, a figure that includes the deficit in the current fiscal year.

Schwarzenegger made his comments a day after calling a special legislative session to tackle California’s growing budget gap. The session would start when the new Legislature is sworn in on Dec. 6.

Some Democrats have said they would rather wait until Gov.-elect Jerry Brown, a Democrat, is sworn into office in January.

Schwarzenegger said he talked with Brown about the special session on Thursday.

“He’s all for it,” the governor said. “He knows that the faster we make these decisions, the better it is and the less he has to deal with. It’s natural.”

Brown is vacationing out of state. A spokesman said Thursday the governor-elect intends to work with the Schwarzenegger administration and the Legislature on the budget crisis.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, said short-term solutions must be combined with a serious statewide conversation about what state government can and should provide.

“What Gov. Schwarzenegger doesn’t acknowledge is that the meat-cleaver approach to cutting not only harms people but harms the prospect for economic recovery as well,” Steinberg said. He said he remains unwilling to totally eliminate programs Californians count on, such as work assistance and child care.

“If he’s going to present us with nothing more than a package of massive cuts, my view is that we will get started in December, but we will work with the governor-elect, Jerry Brown, to make cuts because they’re necessary, in combination with a long-term approach to fix what we know is broken,” he added.

John Vigna, spokesman for Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles, said the deficit can’t really be solved until job prospects improve; California’s unemployment rate has been stuck above 12 percent for more than a year.

“We’ll see if there are some solutions we can adopt in December … but the important thing is to not make matters worse with the cuts we do make,” Vigna said.

Spokespeople for the GOP Assembly and Senate leaders did not immediately respond to requests for comment Friday.

The Republican governor said he warned lawmakers repeatedly since February to make deep cuts to state programs and make them early. Instead, he says legislative delays cost the state an extra $7.8 billion.

The legislative analyst warned about problems in the budget even before Schwarzenegger signed it. On the day it was passed by the Legislature, the analyst’s office issued a report saying two-thirds of the budget solutions were based on one-time or temporary money, some of which may not materialize.

For example, the budget contained an assumption that there would be $1.4 billion in additional tax revenue if the state economy improved more than expected.

Before Schwarzenegger signed the budget, the analyst warned that it would leave California facing “sizable annual budget problems in 2011-12 and beyond.” At the same time, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, called the budget an “embarrassment” that was filled with “false assumptions.”

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • L .Marquez

    This is one chicken **** man….When Davis was recalled, Arnie lay total blame at his feet. Why doesn’t he take the blame and the responsibility as was on HIS watch…Terminator my a** . Sorry exuse of a leader.

  • EJ from LA

    Well at Least we have Barbara Boxer!

  • brkitdwn

    I agree with Arnie!

  • Kevin

    @L. Marquez

    Agree. You can blame the apathetic, star-struck California voters for putting him into the Governor’s seat in the first place. Now matter how much I liked him as an actor, that did not translate into politics as far as I’m concerned. A lot of our state’s problems are just because voters are dumb.

  • Barbara

    the financial mess we are in has nothing to do with arnold ??? Puh-leese he made everything worse and we are going to payi for it for years to come. he can’t leave fast enough for me. Good Riddance ! ! !

  • dave

    he wont be baaaack

    • Carol

      Ha ha ha ha! Thanks for the laugh.

  • leonard

    Well you all voted him in, what did you expect just another politician who cares

  • MF

    Boxer is a freakin joke, California keeps the same morons in office that’s why we’re in this big mess.

    • brkitdwn

      i don’t think boxer is the problem.. it really boils down to the legislature, as they enact, modify, and change bills. the govoner governs, and votes/vetos them into law. he can only tell them so many times.. what ya gonna do?? entrenchment, lobbists, special interest… it’s a juggernaut of a situation. it’s really going to take someone with courage to continue blowing the horn, and we, the people, will have to deal with it, as, there is no easy way out.. lot’s of cuts, lots of pain are coming our way.. fasten your seat belt, it’s gonna get bumpy!

  • Justin

    Schawarzenegger *FAIL*!

  • Ziggy

    Come on Arnold! You ran for office saying how you were going to fix California
    Now you Whine like Girly man
    Now you see what Gray Davis had to desk with
    and what OBama has to desk with on a much larger level

  • Kurt Hahn

    The Governor is wrong to partially faulting the voters for limiting his ability to rob money from local governments. That is not the way to balance the State budget. LOcal governments face their own problems and are making more dramatic cuts as a percentage in many cases high than the State.

    Kurt Hahn
    Past Preseident
    California Society of Municipal Finance Officers

  • Chuck

    It’s the lawmakers and the Governor. There is a one line budget item in the general fund portion of the state budget. It costs the taxpayers over 20 Billion dollars a year. It is social services. You want to balance the budget remove that one line item and the budget will balance. No one from the state will talk about it, nor will any of the news stations. If you don’t believe it? Check it out.

  • fish wrap

    Why don’t the feds send us money they bailed everyone else out. The banks are too big to fail well what about entire friggin states.

  • thuumper

    The State Congress are Dem’s. You realy expect to get any thing acompished??????

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