The Governor´s Finance Director was Tuesday morning´s KVML Newsmaker of the Day:
“Hi, this is Finance Director Mike Genest, filling in for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with this week´s California Report.
It has been 59 days since the Governor called the legislators into an emergency
special session on our budget crisis.
And still, they have failed to take real and comprehensive action to close California´s exploding deficit. Every second the legislature´s inaction continues, we spend another
$470 more than we´re taking in.
Every minute, another $28,000. Every hour, $1.7 million. Every day, more than $40 million.
This is the most challenging fiscal crisis California has ever faced and the longer legislators refuse to compromise, the more difficult the choices become.
For example, the Governor initially proposed one day-a-month furloughs for state workers. But after weeks and weeks of gridlock, he was forced to issue an executive order imposing furloughs of two days-per-month, as well as layoffs.
If the inaction continues, our deficit will reach $41.6 billion by the end of the next fiscal year.
Imagine trying to close a $41 billion deficit, in a year when projected revenues are only $86 billion.
This is what California is facing.
We´re in an extraordinary situation that requires immediate action.
So on Wednesday, 10 days before the constitutional deadline, the Governor released his 2009-2010 budget, detailing his proposals to close that gap.
Just like his previous proposals, it is a compromise, right down the middle.
It includes more than $17 billion in spending cuts that will affect all areas of government.
It also includes $14 billion in new revenues, to help minimize the impact on vital programs such as education.
The Governor has also always said that if we ask the people to sacrifice, so must government.
So he is proposing a series of measures to improve efficiency within state operations, including eliminating or consolidating dozens of boards and commissions.
Our situation is dire.
California runs out of cash in less than 70 days.
The State Controller has warned that as early as February 1, we will be forced to
issue IOU´s for a variety of payments, like tax refunds for individuals and businesses.
As the Governor has said, we are free-falling toward a fiscal Armageddon and the time for action is now.
So, bear with me a moment while I speak directly to your state legislator.
Sir or Madam, I know that you didn´t run for office so you could vote to raise taxes or cut spending for vital programs. I too wish there was another way. But, we have to do what is needed to bring this state back from the fiscal brink. You are a leader. In times like this leadership requires compromise. Your state needs your help.
You can save it from disaster, but only if you reach across the aisle. Time is up. Please act now.
On behalf of the Governor, this is Mike Genest.
Thank you for listening.”
The Newsmaker of the Day can be heard each weekday morning at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47 on AM-1450 KVML.
Written by Mark Truppner