Calif. Crunch May Force Drastic Cuts

State might slash education funds, free inmates early
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2007 7:22 PM CST
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will present a raft of proposals to close the gap in the state's budget, including reducing school funding and releasing inmates early from prison.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – California's dire financial straits may force the early release of 30,000 low-risk inmates and bring drastic cuts in education, the Los Angeles Times reports. Arnold Schwarzenegger will declare a fiscal emergency next month as the state wrestles with a $14.5 billion budget gap. The governor has ordered agencies to explore spending cuts of 10% across the board, which could soften opposition to future tax increases.

The 10% cut is “not as easy as it sounds,” said one state official. The state’s interest groups are “going to be squealing beyond belief,” another predicted, adding that because Schwarzenegger vowed not to raise taxes, he’ll prod Californians by proposing the cuts: “He won’t talk taxes until there is a consensus that these services are what the state wants.”