What do you get when you have a $19 billion budget deficit, a lame duck Republican governor firmly rooted in fiscal conservatism, and a Democrat majority Legislature? A state that's drowning in red ink while it's elected officials try to come to an agreement on how to fix a situation that grows more serious by the day.
With his back against the wall, not having to face voters again the governor unveiled his latest ideas to stop the hemorrhaging. The cuts he proposes would clearly affect the Californians who need it the most.
His plan includes eliminating the state's main welfare program and state subsidized day care. Even more cuts to school funding, Medi-Cal and county mental health programs. He's even proposing to transfer some state prisoners back to local jails.
Cuts must be made, but these seem aimed at the most needy of our citizens. Just looking at the numbers it's overwhelming to think of how many people who rely on these programs may find themselves in desperate situations. Especially children and the elderly.
It's not hard to believe Schwarzenegger, a fiscal conservative, refuses to raise taxes on businesses. True, they are the ones who keep people employed and help keep the money machine oiled. But isn't it time for the governor and lawmakers to bite the bullet on both sides of the aisle?
The time to work together is now and compromises must be made. It's time to stop the bickering and find a way to get things done. Then again, these are politicians we're talking about.