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 another California Report.
We all know that our state is facing a serious financial crisis and it gets worse each day that we go without a solution.
In a matter of weeks, California, the world´s eighth largest economy, will run out of cash and delay making refunds to our hard-working taxpayers.
Just yesterday, the Governor ordered that beginning in February, most state offices, like the DMV, will be forced to close the first and third Fridays of each month.
The people of California deserve better.
This week we concluded talks on the Democratic budget proposal without a deal.
But we are now moving forward with negotiations on the balanced budget the Governor proposed on December 31.
On Thursday, the Governor had a cordial and productive Big 5 meeting and they will meet again next week.
We are turning the page to find a real solution that works on all levels.
California´s budget is not just about revenues in and dollars out. It is a blueprint for where the state needs to go.
Now more than ever we need to cut waste, reduce spending while increasing revenue, keep people in their homes and stimulate the economy.
Like the Governor has said, the balanced budget we have laid out is like a four-legged stool.
We need all four legs to be strong or the whole thing will collapse.
The first leg is to reduce spending by $17.4 billion with most of those reductions coming in the biggest areas of the budget: education, health and human services and prisons.
The second leg of the stool is to increase revenues by $14.3 billion coming mainly from a temporary one and-one half cent increase in the state sales and use tax.
Next is economic stimulus.
Our unemployment rate in November was 8.4 percent and we expect it to go above 9 percent.
That´s why the Governor has been adamant about easing environmental regulations and other red tape to get infrastructure projects moving as quickly as possible.
For every $1 billion worth of projects conservative estimates say you produce 18,000 jobs.
Those are jobs the people of California need right now.
The last leg of the stool is to make government more efficient.
By taking steps like streamlining our energy functions and consolidating information technology under the state´s new Chief Information Officer, we can save hundreds of millions of dollars.
This four-legged approach will balance our budget, make government more efficient and help stimulate our economy by putting people to work.
It´s time for all the legislators to come to the table, Democrats and Republicans, ready to take up this proposal.
It is time for them to put politics aside, adopt a spirit of compromise and get our state back on track.
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