$20 billion—again. The bloated, ugly number that California cannot seem to escape is back again for its Spring sequel as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to release his May budget revision, which is expected to feature a deficit of at least $20 billion, roughly the same budget hole that has been hanging over the state for the past three years. The May revision promises to offer no new taxes and “terrible cuts, absolutely terrible cuts” according to Schwarzenegger’s press secretary. How do legislators and the Governor proceed, having failed so many times before to come up with lasting solutions? Tax revenues are down and Republicans and the Governor refuse to consider tax increases; the Governor has abandoned his idea of raising $118 million with new oil drilling off the California coast; the Legislature has shot down several revenue-raising ideas, including the increased use of red-light cameras. So where will the new ideas come from and how can California avoid this brutal rite of Spring passage?
Denise Ducheny, State Senator (D-40th District) representing San Diego Riverside and Imperial counties
Dan Walters, political columnist for the Sacramento Bee
Jean Ross, executive director of the California Budget Project