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Arnie Terminates Public Spending Like There's No Tomorrow

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July 21 (Bloomberg) -- California lawmakers reached an agreement with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger over how to close a $26 billion budget deficit that pushed the most-populous U.S. state to the brink of insolvency.

The deal, reached by legislative leaders after two months of frequently acrimonious negotiations, would slash spending for schools, public works and welfare programs amid the longest recession since the 1930s. If approved by the full Senate and Assembly, the agreement will also siphon money from municipalities, force companies and individuals to pay income taxes sooner and make it more difficult to receive state aid.


The agreement calls for cutting spending by $15 billion, including $6 billion from schools, $3 billion from colleges and $1.2 billion from prisons. Schools will be repaid $11 billion once the state’s economy turns around. It also raises $4 billion by in part accelerating personal and corporate income tax withholdings and increasing income tax withholding schedules by 10 percent.

It also calls for the state to divert more than $2 billion of tax receipts meant for local governments, redevelopment agencies and transportation districts. That money would be repaid with interest. Local governments could sell bonds backed by the promise of repayments. The agreement also shifts $1.5 billion between accounts to save money and moves the last payday for state workers in the current fiscal year into the next.

Will this be enough? Harsh times ahead for California...

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