Schwarzenegger budget upsets Democrats

first_img“I have a real issue with that.” Transit advocates were disappointed that the governor made even deeper cuts to public transportation than he had offered in January. In his earlier draft, he had proposed cutting about $1.1 billion from transit; now the trim would be up to $1.3 billion. Roger Snoble, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, said the governor’s plan cuts about $230 million in expected funds for transit projects in Los Angeles County, leaving the region with only about $63 million in state funding. Metro’s overall budget is about $3 billion. “There’s nothing good that I can see in it,” Snoble said. “It will take a lot of money away from the agency that could be used to improve mobility within Los Angeles County. That’s something we wouldn’t like to see at all, particularly at a time when we had such great momentum going.” The cuts mean the agency will have to scale back some of its capital projects, he said, though the Metro board has yet to decide which areas will take the hit. Snoble said MTA officials will travel to Sacramento this week and in coming weeks to lobby lawmakers and the governor to restore some of the transit funding. Other highlights of Schwarzenegger’s proposed 2007-08 budget include: General fund spending on K-12 education will be $41 billion, or about $1.2 billion more than the 2006-07 budget. The governor proposed paying down $3.1 billion in bond debt, or about $1.6 billion more than required, putting the state on track to pay back the 2004 Economic Recovery Bonds 14 years ahead of schedule. Colleges will face fee increases of 10 percent at California State University campuses and 7 percent at University of California campuses. Political analyst Sherry Bebitch Jeffe of the University of Southern California said Democratic complaints represent standard negotiating posture. In the end, the governor may face more resistance from Republican lawmakers concerned about the state spending too much and continuing to maintain an operating deficit, she said. [email protected] (916) 446-6723 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed Monday a revised $146 billion spending plan for next year that cuts social services and public transit, but makes early payments on debt and avoids tax hikes. Democratic lawmakers were upset by some of the cuts, vowing to fight the plan unless some of them are restored. Schwarzenegger’s new spending plan for 2007-08 varies from the first draft he released in January by increasing spending on education, prison health care and social service caseloads, while making larger cuts in transit. He also wants to raise $1 billion by privatizing EdFund, a program created in 1997 that provides loan guarantees to students. The May revise also allows a $1.4 billion operating deficit, while previously Schwarzenegger had proposed to fully eliminate it. That deficit was as high as $16 billion when Schwarzenegger first took office, and he has decreased it every year. “We have a budget that is fiscally responsible, fully funds education, continues to pay down our debt and leaves California with a prudent reserve of $2.2 billion,” Schwarzenegger said. “And for the fourth year in a row, we are not raising taxes.” Schwarzenegger proposed a state general fund of $104 billion – an increase of about 1.5 percent from the current year – with the additional spending coming from sources such as the federal government and bonds. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nu ez, D-Los Angeles, said the proposal was “just plain bad” and he compared it to the governor’s more partisan agenda of his 2005 special election. “This budget punishes low and middle-income families, who work hard and play by the rules,” Nu ez said. “The administration wants to pay off Wall Street early, even if it means that kids on Main Street do without. last_img read more