Governor proposes harsh cuts for budget fix

SACRAMENTO Not long after the crop of newly elected lawmakers was sworn in, Governor /*Arnold Schwarzenegger*/ asked them to hold a special session to deal with the immediate $6-billion deficit.

Even though he has less than a month before he leaves office, the lame-duck governor thinks it's his responsibility to work until the end.

"I took the oath to serve as California's chief executive until January 3rd," said Schwarzenegger. "I will serve the people of California until the last second."

The governor is proposing about $10 billion in solutions, nearly $7.5 billion of that in cuts.

The governor presented a package of potential solutions to close the budget gap. It includes cutting health care and social services for the poor.

Schwarzenegger wants to make changes to /*Healthy Families*/, a health plan for children from low-income families. Monthly premiums would be raised, and vision coverage would be removed from the program.

Schwarzenegger also wants to limit physician visits and prescriptions for /*Medi-Cal*/ recipients.

There is also a proposal to get rid of the state's /*CalWORKs*/ /*Welfare-to-Work*/ program.

For many mothers, these cuts mean the elimination of subsidized childcare while they earn a degree or get job training.

"He's not thinking about the people that he's hurting and the families that he's hurting," said Lauren Fried, a Welfare-to-Work mother from Marin County. "I can't wait for him to leave."

Democrats who control the Legislature are pretty much going to ignore Schwarzenegger's proposal.

While they will spend this month working on the budget, a vote will likely not take place.

"The reality is he's gone in 30 days. We have a new governor coming in, and we look forward to working with Governor Brown," said state Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Los Angeles).

Schwarzenegger warned Governor-elect /*Jerry Brown*/ will have little choice but to propose more cuts as well.

"I guarantee you that no matter how you look at it, you will not find more money," said Schwarzenegger.

Even though Brown takes office on January 3, lawmakers have 45 days beginning Monday to act on the fiscal emergency. If they don't they cannot work on anything else but the state budget.

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