Governor Schwarzenegger Presents Budget, Outlines
Recovery Plan For State
"My budget puts California on a path to recovery"
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today presented a $76 billion
state budget for fiscal year 2004-2005, calling it a responsible
plan that "puts California on a path to recovery."
At a press briefing here today, Governor Schwarzenegger demonstrated
how years of overspending left the State with billions of dollars
in debt that he inherited when he took office. "Over the
past five years, the politicians have made a mess of the California
budget," said the Governor. "While state revenues
grew by 25 percent, spending increased by 43 percent. Because
Sacramento didn't control spending, we have an inherited debt
of $22 billion and we face a $14 billion deficit in this budget.
"That's the bad news. The good news is we have a plan
to turn California around."
"First, we pass the Economic Recovery Bond in March.
Second, we pass the constitutional amendment for a balanced
budget and a rainy-day fund. Third, we attack the structural
deficit with a responsible budget. And fourth, we make California
the powerful job-creating machine it once was."
Governor Schwarzenegger also noted that the State's budget
problems highlight the need for government to be smarter and
more effective. "We will reform the way the State does
business - in corrections, in education, in health and human
services, and more. State government can spend more wisely.
And go after waste, fraud and abuse."
The Governor's budget includes $4.1 billion for full state
reimbursement to local governments of lost Vehicle License
Fee revenues, and honors the Governor's commitment to education
with an increase in spending.
"Another promise I am keeping in this budget is to protect
education," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "K-12 spending
will grow by $216 for every student next year. But we also
improve the quality of education by how we spend our money.
My budget will shift more spending to local school districts."
The Governor emphasized the necessity of bringing overall
spending back in line with revenues, in order to preserve the
State's ability to provide essential services. "This budget
will make reductions. And they are very difficult decisions,
which I do not take lightly. As I said in my State of the State
address, if we do not control spending today, we will put every
program at risk, because California will be bankrupt. And a
bankrupt California cannot provide services for anyone."
The Governor closed his presentation with a reminder that
the Legislature was able to put partisan baggage aside before
and work with him to pass his California Recovery Plan. He
called on them to do so again with his budget: "I know
every member of the Legislature has good intentions to make
this a great state. If we work together, we can show the people
of California that we are worthy of their trust. Together,
the Legislature and I, will take California out of the poor
house and make it a powerhouse."