Arnold Schwarzenegger Addresses Budget Deficit In California
The Governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, addresses a budget deficit of about $24.3 billion and has called for a fiscal emergency.
The Governor also ordered many state offices to close for three days every month until June 2010, with staff not paid for those days. California is one of the hardest hit by economic slowdown among the American states. The move is in the wake of state legislators missing July 1 target to approve a budget for the coming fiscal year.
John Chiang, State Controller, said the failure to meet the target means the state deficit will go up by $6.5 billion by September.
Mr Chiang said that many defenceless people had been put in harm's way by the state's failure to agree to the budget and to provide essential dollars to help these people pay their rent, for food or utility bill. He had earlier cautioned that extreme measures would have to be taken to save money, including payment delays to companies working for the state and to those depending on grants.
Under urgent measures, some of state offices will be closed on the first, second, and third Friday of every month until June 2010, with staff unpaid for those days. Schwarzenegger said in a statement that although the legislature had failed to cure the budget problems, solving the entire deficit remained his priority.
"I will not rest until we get it done. I will not be a part of pushing this crisis down the road - the road stops here," he said.
The White House said it was keenly observing the state of affairs in California.