Commentary: Schwarzenegger needs to get priorities straight on state spending

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is again trying to build a new death row at San Quentin State Prison. This has been a bad idea for a long time, and it's gotten worse now that the governor wants to borrow $64.7 million from the state's cash-strapped general fund to accelerate the construction.

The administration's call for bids to build new digs for condemned inmates comes as the governor wants to furlough state workers, cut their pay to minimum wage and end safety net services for some of California's poorest and most vulnerable citizens.

Schwarzenegger needs to reconsider his priorities and focus on what is truly important as his time as governor ends -- such as engaging in negotiations with legislative leaders to resolve the budget impasse.

The $64.7 million is merely a down payment on the San Quentin fiasco. Construction would cost about $360 million. Interest payments on 20-year bonds the state ordinarily would sell to finance the construction could add another $150 million or more to the final price tag.

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