Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, while speaking at a press conference today, responded to a question about cuts to the number of prison educators.
Question: There was a rally this morning about hundreds that say that they’re going to get laid off next month from the department, training, vocational teachers that rehabilitate prisoners and they’re going to be laid off next month, 900 out of 1,400. How do you expect our streets to be safe if our criminals are not going to be educated and have nothing to do on the outside?
Governor Schwarzenegger: Well, the question is, when you have a limited amount of money then you can only go and pay out the money you have. And so when you have all of a sudden $60 billion less money, you cannot pay out the same amount to prisons, you cannot pay out the same amount to education, to higher education, to in-home services, to any of those things. So everyone has to be cut back.
This is why it is so important not to talk about the cuts that have been made but much more about how do we prevent this from ever happening again. Because the $60 billion, plus the $20 billion plus that we have now coming up as a deficit, this is not because of the economy. This is because we have a budget system and a tax system that doesn’t work. The economy only went down from an increase in economic activities from, instead of five percent, it’s a two percent increase. So there’s only a three percent difference, so we should maybe have a decrease in revenues of maybe $10 billion or $15 billion but not of $30 billion, not a drop of 27 percent. Those are huge drops of revenues in a short period of time only because we are relying so much on capital gains and personal income tax; 53 percent of our revenues come from that. Those are not steady revenue sources, so this is why we have to reform the system.
So we should concentrate on that so it never, ever happens again. But as you can see, it’s very tough to do that. But that’s the pressure, rather than thinking about, well, wait a minute, you’re taking some dollars away from in-home services, you’re taking money away from prisons, you’re taking money away from education. That’s not going to help us, because there’s only a certain amount of money. And that’s the way it works, not only in this state but in every state. But our state was hit twice as hard as other states because of our failing tax system and because of our failing budget system.