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Gov. Schwarzenegger Discusses The $24 Billion Budget Deficit

Governor Schwarzenegger was Tuesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”. Here are his words:

Hello, this is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger with another California Report.

Over the last few weeks, I have been working with lawmakers to close California’s $24 billion deficit.

There is no more time to waste. If we do not have a budget solution, the state controller has said we will run out of money by the end of July.

As I have said, California’s budget solution has to be about more than making devastating cuts.

We must use this crisis as an opportunity to make government more efficient, which is a much better option than raising your taxes

We can stretch taxpayer dollars and still provide the safety net for our most vulnerable citizens 

For instance, we can save close to $2 billion a year by bringing Medi-Cal into the 21st Century.

Right now, Medi-Cal’s costs are rising 8 percent a year.

10 percent of Medi-Cal patients account for three-quarters of the costs.

If we move some of those patients into managed care, we can improve the coordination of services, reduce costs by hundreds of millions of dollars a year and also provide a higher quality of care.

We can also centralize processing for Medi-Cal and food stamps, saving more than $1 billion annually.

Right now eligibility is handled by 27,000 workers in our 58 counties.

We can get the job done with a fraction of those workers by moving to a paperless, web-based process.

We can eliminate confusion and make the system user friendly at the same time.

This week, the San Diego Union Tribune also wrote about the massive fraud in our In-Home Support Services.

If we simply require fingerprints and background checks, we can identify those who are receiving benefits under multiple identities. 

I say let’s change the law, to give us more tools to root out all the fraud and abuse.

The legislators should also consider saving tens of millions of dollars by using electronic reporting in our courts.

And they should also look at consolidating all of the various procurement operations within our state agencies and departments. 

This would save another $140 million a year.

These reforms add up to billions of dollars, billions that could then be used for health care, education or public safety.

I know some of these proposals won’t be popular with special interest groups. But we must always ask ourselves, “Were we sent to Sacramento to protect those who deliver the Services, or those who receive the services?” 

I think it should be those who receive the services. 

California taxpayers demand that our state spend their money in the most cost-efficient way possible.

Taxpayers need to know that their hard-earned dollars are not wasted on inefficiency or mismanagement. 

This is not the time to look inside the taxpayers’ wallets for budget answers.  This is the time to look inside California government.

Thank you for listening.”

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard each Tuesday morning on AM 1450 KVML at 6:47, 7:47 and 8:47am.

Written by mark@mlode.com

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