California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a revised $85 billion budget and targeted welfare for deeper cuts, prompting threats from Democratic lawmakers to block his political agenda during his final months in office, The Associated Press reports.
After weeks of negotiations, the Republican governor and top lawmakers in the Democratic-led legislature early last week agreed to several measures to close the state's massive budget deficit of more than $24 billion.
On Friday, the legislature passed many of the measures to close most of the gap but left it to Schwarzenegger to use line-item cuts to fill in the rest of the shortfall.
Schwarzenegger said in a statement his signed budget would plug the deficit largely with spending cuts of $16.1 billion and some one-time moves while excluding tax increases. It also maintains a $500 million reserve, which analysts have said the state government likely will need should its revenue slump persist, Reuters reports.
The governor reduced the Department of Aging by $6.3 million, to $4.1 million. He cut the Department of Public Health by about $7 million, to $47.4 million. He slashed $80 million from a program for abused and neglected children and $16 million from domestic-violence programs. While the Legislature fought bitterly to stave off Mr. Schwarzenegger’s stated desire to eliminate health insurance for poor children, he reduced that program — Healthy Families — by $178.6 million, to $225.3 million, which will be matched by $737.7 million in federal money.
The state parks will see a budget reduction of about $6 million, to $422,517,000. About 100 parks will likely be closed, The New York Times reports
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