SACRAMENTO, CALIF. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared California in a fiscal crisis Thursday and invoked emergency powers so he could impose $150 million in spending cuts without the Legislature's approval.
"I was elected by the people of this state to lead. Since the legislative leadership refuses to act, I will act without them," Schwarzenegger said in announcing the decision.
The cuts, largely in social service programs, free up money for city and county governments that have lost more than $300 million since the Republican governor rolled back an unpopular tripling of the state's car tax.
The cuts include a half-percent decrease in funding for the University of California and California State University systems, closure of a migrant farm-worker housing center, less money for the Department of Motor Vehicles and a $91 million cut to programs aimed at helping welfare recipients return to the work force.
Schwarzenegger had proposed suspending a civil rights measure that guarantees care for the disabled to save money but changed his mind.
In all, he plans to cut about $150 million in spending by the time the emergency powers expire on June 30, the end of the fiscal year.
That's still small change in the context of California's budget woes.
The state's total budget for this fiscal year is $99 billion. If current spending and revenues don't change, the state could face between a $12 billion and $24 billion deficit by the middle of 2005.