Governor Schwarzenegger appeals to save ‘California dream’


San Francisco : California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appealed to lawmakers Tuesday to pass a raft of unprecedented budget cuts, saying the tough decisions were the only way to save the California dream.

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Schwarzenegger made his comments in a meeting of the California legislature convened to decide on his proposals to close the state’s projected $24-billion shortfall.

“People are writing California off. They are talking about the end of the California dream,” the governor said. “They don’t believe that we in this room have the courage and determination to do what needs to be done or that the state is manageable.”

Schwarzenegger and the lawmakers reached a deal in February to plug the deficit. But that plan was derailed when voters roundly rejected a slate of ballot measures that would have allowed the state to borrow some $6 billion against the future revenues of the state lottery.

That ultimately unsuccessful legislative deal took months to negotiate. But the state could run out of money by the end of next month unless a new budget is passed by then.

Schwarzenegger’s unpopular proposals include massive cuts to welfare and health programmes, as well as to education and prisoner rehabilitation. Another controversial proposal would see the government close most of California’s fabled state parks.

Schwarzenegger said that the government had no choice but to make the tough decisions. “California’s day of reckoning is here,” he said. “Our wallet is empty. Our bank is closed. Our credit is dried up.”