Normally the Governor gives a formal speech to the full legislature only once a year; his annual State of the State address. But this isn’t your normal year:
“Well as they say in the emergency broadcast system, this is not a test.”
HD Palmer is with the state Department of Finance. He says the fiscal crisis is so monumental that the Governor wants to make sure lawmakers and the public know exactly where things stand:
“He will talk about the nature of the problem, the difficulty of the decisions that lie ahead for all member so the legislature in the coming weeks and the prospect even in this difficult time of implementing a number of significant reforms.”
The latest version of the Governor’s plan to close a 24 billion dollar budget gap includes the elimination of some health and welfare programs, pay cuts for state workers and shutting down most state parks. Jack Pitney is a Professor of Government at Claremont McKenna College. He says even though the details are already out there, the Governor is making a statement with this speech:
“He wants to get the attention of the legislature, convince them that this really is a serious problem, that business as usual can’t go on, and taking this extraordinary step symbolizes the urgency of the matter.
Pitney says he doesn’t think the Governor is bluffing about deep cuts. He says whatever deal lawmakers and the Governor come up with, pain is sure to be the main ingredient. Schwarzenegger says voters made it clear they don’t want more tax increases when they rejected the ballot measures last month. Republicans couldn’t agree more. State finance officials are pleading with lawmakers to balance the budget quickly. The State Controller says they need to act by the middle of this month or California runs out of cash in late July.