With reform-watchers having this Friday the 13th circled on their calendars, all eyes will be on budget talks in the Legislature.
On Friday, Gov. Schwarzenegger told the Bay Area Council that he and legislative leaders agree on all but $4 billion of the budget gap and the focus now is on reform. “Schwarzenegger’s assertion Friday makes clear that it’s come down to a few billion dollars in cuts versus taxes, plus the long-term changes in the budget system, tax structure and pensions that Schwarzenegger wants” according to the Sacramento Bee’s Kevin Yamamura.
The San Jose Mercury News called the difference “a contentious $4 billion.”
If legislators don’t come to an agreement over the budget soon, State Controller John Chiang has warned that California will go into the red by the end of Oct. and his office could be forced to begin issuing I.O.U.s as early as the end of this month.
In today’s San Francisco Chronicle, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic diocese in San Francisco, George Niederauer, summed up the budget impasse: “Now is the time for our legislators and the governor, many of whom are not facing re-election, to show real courage and imagination. Families are suffering because of a devastating – but curable – budget crisis. Lawmakers and the governor have the tools and the ability to solve these problems, but it requires leadership. They need to stop giving in to special interests and start looking after the future of California. They need to stop the partisanship and the bickering.”
Armando Botello II is a communications associate at California Forward.