Governor losing cool over budget?

SACRAMENTO "Call your Legislators. Tell them you're demanding a balanced budget," said Schwarzenegger.

An impatient Governor Schwarzenegger has nowhere else to turn but to Californians for help on the record late budget.

He is also relying on embarrassment to pressure lawmakers to break their stalemate. He is pointing out that they have had months to work on the state's spending plan; however they have nothing to show for it.

"They go on vacation, they go on recess, they go home on weekends and have their two days off ... because God forbid, they have to work through the weekend," said Governor Schwarzenegger.

The governor continued to attack lawmakers for collecting their daily per diem of $170, despite the lack of a budget.

The Republican even went after his own party for proposing a budget that depends on borrowing.

"It's like a family that has over-extended itself with a bunch of credit cards, and then gets another credit card to pay off the old credit cards. That is, of course, a no-no. And they call themselves fiscally conservative and fiscally responsible?" said Governor Schwarzenegger.

The pointed rhetoric made for a very awkward Big 5 meeting later in the day, where leaders of both parties and both houses met with Schwarzenegger.

"His low blows are not very helpful, and we communicated that to him," said Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles).

The Democratically controlled Assembly Budget Committee allowed the Republican plan to be heard for the first time, despite the governor's reservations.

GOP members have largely ignored the governor ever since he proposed a one-cent sales tax to balance the budget.

"We're, frankly, not paying much attention to him because we look at his tax increase proposal as a 'non-starter.' We're the fourth-highest tax state in the country. His proposal would make us number one, ahead of New York," said Assemblyman Chuck DeVore (R-Irvine).

Meanwhile, a dozen rural hospitals are on the verge of closing their doors without state funding. They were given emergency money to float them through August, but that fund has depleted.

"We need a budget now or this healthcare system is going to collapse," said James Whipple, CEO of Marshall Hospital.

The Governor agreed to meet with the Republican caucuses in hopes of breaking the stalemate.

The following is a list of hospitals currently receiving emergency money:

  • Victory Valley Hospital, High Desert Area
  • George L. Mee Memorial Hospital, Monterey County
  • John C. Fremont Healthcare District, Mariposa County
  • Jerold Phelps Community Hospital, Humboldt County
  • Kern Valley Healthcare District, Kern County
  • Mayers Memorial Hospital, Shasta County
  • Modoc Medical Center, Modoc County
  • Mountains Community Hospital, San Bernardino County
  • Palo Verde Hospital, Riverside County
  • Southern Inyo Hospital, Inyo County
  • Trinity Hospital, Trinity County
  • Sierra-Kings District Hospital, Kern County


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