Remember back in the fight over the economic stimulus package, when the idea of the federal government spending billions to make up state/local government budget deficits got cut back substantially? Well, now California is preparing to pay the price:
Faced with a massive budget crisis, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has outlined major budget cuts and plans to sell some of the state’s most treasured landmarks.
Schwarzenegger unveiled proposals on Thursday to replenish California’s state coffers and counter an estimated budget shortfall of 15.4 billion dollars.
Plans include drastic budget cuts, as well as the sale of the Los Angeles Coliseum, which hosted the Olympic Games in 1932 and 1984 and the 157-year-old San Quentin state prison, which houses over 5,000 inmates.
D-Day has been providing excellent coverage of the California budget debacle, including the premature announcement of the projected cuts in an apparent attempt to influence an upcoming state referendum on various budget-related issues. (As D-Day points out, it’s revealing that Arnold’s extensive election-PR campaign is focused more on symbolic, image-related ballot measures than those that would truly affect the state deficit.)
Ominously, though, Democrats in the state legislature don’t appear to be offering much resistance to the governor’s threats to slash spending — apparently not willing to take the heat themselves for proposing alternatives such as tax or fee increases, given the huge amount of money that would be involved.
One ironic element of Schwarzenegger’s grab-bag of supposed financial solutions would be selling some state-government office buildings outright, with the state then paying rent to the private parties who owned them. As if that wasn’t the case with too much of government already.