Balancing the California Budget

The battle to find ways to close California's gaping $24 billion budget shortfall continues, with Governor Schwarzenegger calling for deep cuts and reorganization throughout state government. Last week, making a "rare speech to a joint session of the Legislature," Gov. Schwarzenegger argued that the state has "run out of time," and faces a situation where "Our wallet is empty, our bank is closed, and our credit is dried up".

The challenges facing California's policy makers in balancing the budget can be examined by checking out the Los Angeles Times' "Interactive California Budget Balancer". While the state has many different options available to it, making cuts to potentially popular programs will only serve to irritate interest groups which argue for the efficacy and essential nature of their favored programs. Couple this reluctance to make cuts with popular resistance to tax increases, recently seen when voters rejected a set of measures on May 19, and one can better understand the true magnitude of the budget impasse facing the state.