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Bloomberg: “Schwarzenegger Seeks Obama’s Help for Deficit Relief”

Reported by Bloomberg:

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, anticipating a $21 billion budget deficit, plans to ask President Barack Obama to ease mandates and minimums on social programs to save as much as $8 billion.

The Republican governor plans to seek the relief, according to a California official who asked not to be identified because details haven’t been resolved. Instead of seeking one-time stimulus money or a bailout, the most-populous state wants the U.S. to reduce mandates and waive rules stipulating expenditures on programs such as indigent health care, the official said.

Democrats, who control both chambers of the Legislature, are expected to oppose wholesale cuts to health and welfare programs. Such resistance, along with Republican opposition to tax increases, will be exacerbated as election-year politics heightens the partisan divide. Half of the state’s 120 Assembly and Senate seats go before voters in November.

Budgets and tax increases in California must be approved by a two-thirds majority, and Democrats are two votes short in the Senate and six in the Assembly.

“When you are looking at a deficit in the size we have, everything needs to be on the table,” Assembly Speaker Elect John Perez, a Democrat from Los Angeles, told reporters on Dec. 11. “The reality is that the likelihood of passing taxes in this environment is slim, but everything has to be on the table. We have to come up with a resolution to this budget crisis that asks everyone to sacrifice, not just the people that are in the greatest need.”

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