Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday in his final State of the State address that he will protect schools in his upcoming budget and proposed a constitutional guarantee that California will never spend more money on prisons than on higher education.
Schwarzenegger urged California's congressional delegation to block the federal health care overhaul backed by President Barack Obama unless the package includes billions of dollars more each year for California. He delivered his harshest indictment yet of the plan, calling it "a trough of bribes, deals and loopholes" and "health care to nowhere."
The Republican governor said California's budget deficit stands at $19.9 billion over the next 18 months, a slightly lower figure than estimated by the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst.
"The budget crisis is our Katrina," Schwarzenegger said. "We knew it was coming. We've known it for years. And yet Sacramento would not reinforce the economic levees."
Schwarzenegger asked lawmakers to back a budget reform initiative submitted by California Forward. Among other things, that proposal would drop the threshold for passing the state budget from a two-thirds vote to majority vote.
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