Living In The Thunderdome

by digby

Here's a little blurb I got in email from the Sacramento Bee:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a package of budget bills Tuesday he said contained "the good, the bad and the ugly," including no new tax increases and deep cuts in education and health care.

He said he was forced to make additional cuts in parks and child welfare services because lawmakers sent him a package that was $156 million in the red.

"We are not out of the troubled waters yet," he said."We are ready if our revenues drop further to make the necessary cuts to again live within our means."

Line items totaled $656 million, including cuts in the Office of Aids Prevention and Treatment.

Here's Robert Cruikshank at Calitics to fill in the details just a tad:

Today we witness the damage that the line-item veto causes in the hands of a right-wing governor bent on using it to achieve his long-desired destruction of public services. Arnold's vetoes include:

• An additional $6.2 million cut from state parks, which will likely cause as many as 50 more parks to be closed (potentially 1/3 of parks - 100 total - will now have to close)

• Elimination of state funding for community health clinic programs

• $80 million cut to child welfare services

• Total of about $400 million in health care cuts, including further Healthy Families cuts

• Elimination of funding for the Williamson Act programs to preserve farmland from development

• Deeper cuts to HIV/AIDS programs, as Brian noted.

• Cut 80% of funding for domestic violence shelters

• Elimination of funding for California Conservation Corps

• Cut half of Cal Grant funding, but could be restored "contingent upon enactment of legislation that authorizes the decentralization of the Cal Grant Program and other financial aid programs as warranted."

The state legislature could try and override these vetoes. But as we've seen time and again, this legislature appears to have forgotten that the override power actually exists. It would be a very good chance for Democrats to force Republicans to take a stand on these programs. Either they vote to restore the funding, or they vote to kick kids off of health care and close beaches and parks, giving Dems a set of issues to run on in 2010.

It seems doubtful that such an override will even be attempted. And so California slides deeper into ruin.

I sure hope the wealthy won't have reason to tread beyond their gated communities for the next few years because it's going to be a disease riddled, environmental hellhole out here for the rest of us. I suppose they can have supplies helicoptered in and bring their "concierge medicine" behind the fences. They're going to need to.

It's going to be expensive, but at least the losers won't be getting things they don't deserve.

h/t to bb