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California Budget Deal Reached

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Looks like they’ve finally come to an agreement, but at the expensive of the poor and elderly.

From LA Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders announced Monday that they had reached a deal to close California’s $26.3-billion deficit and begin paying all of the state’s bills again, potentially ending months of partisan wrangling and a cash crisis that threatens to push California into insolvency.

Their agreement, which could go before the full Legislature within days, does not include any broad-based tax increases, relying instead on deep cuts in government services, borrowing and accounting maneuvers to wipe out the deficit.

So what about the elderly and poor? Well, from reading about the following cuts it feels like Schwarzenegger really got his way.

That’s not to suggest he doesn’t care about the elderly and poor, but cutting back on social services and allowing off shore drilling is a pretty big cornerstone of current fiscal conservative philosophy…

Tens of thousands of seniors and children would lose access to healthcare, local governments would sacrifice several billion dollars in state assistance this year and thousands of convicted criminals could serve less time in state prison. Welfare checks would go to fewer residents, state workers would be forced to continue to take unpaid days off and new drilling for oil would be permitted off the Santa Barbara coast.

By the way, that little bit about criminals serving less time? The estimates suggest that nearly 20,000 people will be released early. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since sometimes more prison time leads to people becoming better criminals. Also, I’d imagine you could let the non-violent drug offenders go first.

Still, these cuts will hurt, and in a place as massive as California a lot of people can fall through the cracks. Now even more will.