When Governor Schwarzenegger goes to sleep at night, the number 19 must haunt him. Nineteen as in the $19 billion needed to close the state's budget deficit. In his dreams he must be running around turning over every rock in the state to find money to get the job done. With every overturned stone he finds no money. Only more stones. Then there's the pitbull that's constantly on his heels. The pitbull -- the state legislature constantly keeping him in check.
On Tuesday the governor suggested eliminating CalWorks. That's the state's welfare program that also includes daycare for many thousands of low-income kids. Do that, and county governments would have to foot the welfare bill to the tune of $1 billion. Remember that pitbull? Well it has a keeper of sorts. That would be the Legislature's chief budget analyst. While the governor cites a savings of $1.6 billion, the analyst points out that it would cost the state $3.7 billion in matching federal funds. Damn that pitbull! He's really good at math.
Does California really want to be known as the only state not to offer welfare programs for its citizens that need it most? Is it time to consider tax increases? Something the governor has steadfastly refused to consider? He'd better dream up something by June 1st. That's the beginning of the new fiscal year and he's quickly running out of rocks.