Peter Grigsby, Governor's Office
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger says the state’s budget deficit could be as high as 21 billion dollars next year. That’s much worse than previous estimates.
The Governor revealed the new figure in a letter to legislative leaders. He said the state’s financial picture has worsened…and the deficit for next fiscal year is already more than 15 billion dollars. He says that’ll grow to more than 21 billion if the measures on the May ballot fail.
He also announced he’ll release his revised budget this week – rather than wait until after the election as planned. And Schwarzenegger says he’s adding another twist – two versions of the budget:
“So that the people see what the difference is. If on May 19th it passes, here’s one scenario. This is what we need to do to balance our books by July 1. If it doesn’t pass, if those initiatives don’t pass, then here’s the other scenario with the more severe cuts.”
Some of the cuts the Governor has mentioned include slashing education spending, laying off fire-fighters and releasing prison inmates. .Most of the ballot measures are trailing in the polls – and critics call the Governor’s move a scare tactic. Schwarzenegger’s spokesman said the Governor is trying to level with the people of California about the problem.