Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger resorted to arm-twisting the state Legislature Monday, threatening to leave office in January without signing the budget if he doesn’t get what he wants.
"If I don't get what I need, I will not sign it, and it could drag on to the next governor," Schwarzenegger told reporters after a forum in Los Angeles on Monday.
State legislators are still wrangling over how to close the $19 billion deficit in the budget, which was due July 1.
Democrats want a new oil tax and revenue-generating measures to close the gap. Schwarzenegger is seeking pension reform and some spending cuts.
This comes a few weeks after Schwarzenegger put up a deficit clock outside his office showing California losing $52.3 million each day that passes without a budget agreement. (Tourists -- presumably hoping for a glimpse of the state's celebrity governor -- also love to watch the numbers “pile up in dramatic fashion,” the Mercury News pointed out.)
The governor’s office did the calculation by dividing the $19 billion deficit figure by 365 days of the year. So, he’s basically threatening to put the state into a $9.5 billion hole.
"According to the state controller's office, California will have enough cash for the month of August. After that, the state has to delay payments to schools and local governments and possibly issue IOUs again."