Governor's proposed state budget draws criticism for social cuts

Designed to close $19.9-billion deficit, Schwarzenegger plan would also cut state workers' salaries by 5 %

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger drew criticism this weekend after releasing his proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which proposed cuts to a variety of the state's social welfare programs such as domestic violence shelters.

The proposed budget, designed to close a $19.9 billion deficit, would include a 5 percent cut to state employee salaries, and seeks nearly $7 billion in federal money the governor says California is owed for faulty reimbursement formulas and mandates.

If the federal funding is not received, the California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids program, the Healthy Families program, the In-Home Supportive Services program, among others would be eliminated, according to the proposal.

Schwarzenegger has also proposed to cut $14.67 million in domestic violence local assistance grants, a move state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) said was going to put victims of domestic violence in harm's way.

"There's clearly going to be suffering because there's no safe haven for these individuals," Yee said.

"Women and other victims are going to end up having to endure that suffering by staying home, or going to end up outside of their homes, in the streets, or under freeways because they have no place else to go to."

Schwarzenegger had used a line-item veto in July to eliminate funding for the state's 94 domestic violence shelters and centers, but Yee introduced legislation to restore the money. The bill to restore the money was passed in October.

Yee said that "Many of our poor, elderly and most vulnerable people simply would not survive" with the budget proposed today.

Teresa Yu, domestic violence program manager for Asian Americans for Community Involvement in San Jose, said the cuts would be "devastating" to the Asian Women's Home, a shelter run by the organization that serves about 180 women and children a year.

"It's not like you can just decide not to pay for utilities for a few months," Yu said. The funding "is necessary to keep our doors open."

Women in Santa Clara County who are experiencing domestic violence can call the center's hotline at (408) 975-2739.

With the proposed cuts to domestic violence shelters and other social service programs, Yee said "individuals in our society such as children, seniors, the disabled, they're going to have a hard time surviving given this particular budget."

Following the announcement of the budget, Schwarzenegger said in a statement that the federal funding was important to avoid these budget cuts.

"Now is the time to work together with our partners in the federal government to reduce costs and put our leaders in charge of decisions impacting our state's taxpayers," Schwarzenegger said.

In discussing his budget proposal Wednesday, Schwarzenegger designated "jobs, jobs, jobs" and the economy as the highest priorities for 2010.

"While we still have a long way to go, the worst is over for California's economy," he said.

Schwarzenegger called the state's ongoing budget crisis "our Katrina. We knew it was coming. We've known it for years."

His slate of economic solutions includes a $500 million jobs package, which the governor said could train up to 140,000 workers and help create 100,000 jobs. Other proposals will create a homebuyer tax credit for up to $10,000 and waive sales tax for companies purchasing green technology manufacturing equipment. Additionally, a proposal to streamline the permit process for construction projects with approved environmental reports will help stimulate construction jobs, he said.

Schwarzenegger also discussed broader plans to fix the state's considerable ills. He reiterated his ongoing mantra that California can create its own stimulus by reforming the state's budget and tax system.

He said the state must finally overhaul its tax codes to reflect an enviable economic diversity that includes both high and green technology, agriculture and the epicenter of the entertainment industry.

He urged legislators to approve the recommendations of a bi-partisan panel that spent much of 2009 developing "radical reforms" to the state tax system.

He also asked lawmakers to take action on an existing proposal for overhauling the state budget system, known as The Best Practices Budget Accountability Act.

Schwarzenegger also said he wants to privatize California's prisons, which spend on average $50,000 per inmate annually. He said the measure would free up billions of dollars for education.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News contributed to this report.

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Like this comment
Posted by Steve
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jan 7, 2010 at 8:08 pm

It is so simple a kindergartner could figure this out;
1) Cut Spending. Don't freeze it. Cut it. The state outspent inflation for many years.
2) Cut taxes and eliminate all ridiculous regulations on businesses (workers comp)
3) Decriminalize marijuana. Tax it and reduce prison costs for low-level marijuana dealers.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 8, 2010 at 9:03 am

A kindergartner could figure out your third point? I don't want my kid going to your kid's kindergarten.

Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 8, 2010 at 10:23 am

OK Steve- Let's look at your plan to balance the budget.

1) Cut spending - wow, that is so insightful. What should we cut? How about road and bridge repair, fire, police, or education, or healthcare for children? I'm sure you do not need any of these services.

2) Cut taxes - wow, you are on a roll. Now we have cut taxes, how do we pay for all those non-essential services like fire, police, 911 operators, schools, bridge repair? Who care, we don't really need those services. If your house catches on fire, just use your garden hose to put it out. Oh wait, the water district is subsidized by taxes and was cut in your budget plan. Oops.

3) OK, I actually agree with you on this one. If alcohol and cigarettes are legal and taxable, then pot should be to.

Like this comment
Posted by Pleasanton Parent
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jan 8, 2010 at 12:47 pm


Go to the Alameda County website and search for the top paid public employees. It boggles the mind how many Fire Chiefs are pulling down $250k + per year, over half of which is overtime pay. So again you ask if cuts in spending need to be made to fire or police (especially the prison guards) - yes, yes they do.

Like this comment
Posted by Big Poppa
a resident of Del Prado
on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:02 pm


When you cut taxes people are able to keep more of their money. When people have more money in their pocket they feel comfortable and buy more. When people spend their money they create more tax revenue for the Gov't. It happenes every time taxes have been cut.

When taxes are high or increased people don't spend their money they save it just like I'm doing which is the only good thing about the Democrats being in charge. Since Obama has been in office I've stopped all non essential spending and have saved over 15,000. Good for me but bad for the economy.

Gov't burecracy is full of waste and there are a lot of non essential people who have jobs.

Like this comment
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Downtown
on Jan 9, 2010 at 1:04 pm

If we are going to survive we must move from being a welfare state. 40% of Californian's pay zero income tax!!! That is ridiculous. We should go to a flat tax of 10% across the board.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2010 at 10:44 am

The proposed budget reforms to education are good. Read about it:
Web Link

From reforms to seniority rules to reforms to substitute teacher regulations, they are all good and will benefit our school district, both financially and by allowing us to keep the good teachers regardless of seniority.

Like this comment
Posted by Seriously?
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Jan 11, 2010 at 7:53 pm

Big Poppa-I believe that Bush Sr proved that trickle down economics does not work. In times of economic uncertainty, people save their money they do not spend it.

Like this comment
Posted by Rat Turd
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jan 11, 2010 at 8:05 pm


No you are wrong, Ronald Reagan proved trickle down economics does work and he proved it by saving our economy from democrat, Jimmy Carter by reducing taxes and giving money back to the people so they could spend it as they so choose.

Bush Sr. raised taxes which proved his undoing.

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