Aug 22, 2008

California budget still deadlocked

Could break record for latest in history

By Marlene C. Hurd

The California State Legislature is set to reach a milestone that most politicians likely won’t want to brag about. At press time, the state budget is nearly two months late, and counting. The current record of a tardy budget is August 31, 2002.
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers continue to wrangle over how to fill the state’s $15 billion budget deficit, with Republicans and Democrats at war over raising taxes versuscutting services and borrowing.
Meanwhile, clinics are laying off workers and community college students are being denied grants. Colleges also have reduced funds for student workers, and many state employees are being paid minimum wage. The temporary pay cut has state workers getting the federal minimum wage of $6.55 per hour. Over 175,000 workers are affected. Over ten thousand others were laid off.
The governor had previously proposed cutting the competitive Cal grants, but withdrew the proposal after numerous students advocated against the proposal.
“Students will not get Cal grants that they need for college,” said Black Caucus Treasurer Charles Perkins. “Students need those grants for books and fees.”
Ironically, many community colleges have record enrollments. This means; more students, less money.
The governor and Democrats are proposing an increased sales tax. Republican lawmakers want to cut $10 billion in state programs and services and borrow $2 billion from the state’s lottery funds.
California will likely be the only state in the nation without a budget. The budget was due July 1, at the beginning of the fiscal year. Californian’s are hopeful a budget will be passed soon.

No comments: