Calif. ordering layoffs to cover $15.4B deficit
By Judy Lin
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Thursday that thousands of state employees must be laid off and billions of dollars must be slashed from the budget to deal with a deficit that tops $15 billion and could widen again within days.
"I understand that these cuts are very painful and they affect real lives," Schwarzenegger said during a news conference. "This is the harsh reality and the reality that we face. Sacramento is not Washington — we cannot print our own money. We can only spend what we have."
The state approved billions in budget cuts and revenue increases earlier this year but they were not enough to keep up with a sharp drop in tax revenue as the recession batters the state's economy.
California still faces a deficit of $15.4 billion in the fiscal year that starts July 1. That will grow to $21.3 billion if voters reject budget-related measures during a special election next week.
The Republican governor released budget proposals that account for both deficit numbers and call for across-the-board cuts that will strike at the core of state services.
Starting Friday, the administration will send layoff notices to 5,000 state government employees, a move that is designed to cut the general work force by 5 percent but would take months to complete. Funding for health and human services and the higher education system also would be cut.
See: Calif. ordering layoffs to cover $15.4B deficit