Democrats, who dominate the Legislature, have little choice but to cooperate with the governor, a Republican, in making some kind of cuts because of a voter-approved 2004 initiative that permits the governor to declare an emergency when revenues are substantially below what was anticipated upon signing of the budget. It also allows reductions midway through a fiscal years. The proposition also requires the Legislature to pass and send to the governor legislation to address the fiscal emergency within 45 days. If not, the Legislature is prohibited from acting on any other bills or adjourning in joint recess until such legislation is passed. This is the first time Schwarzenegger has exercised the authority. Since the governor signed the current budget in August, the economy has weakened due largely to a slump in the housing market. Legislators, already scheduled to return for the second-year of their two-year, 2007-08 session in January, will consider the fiscal emergency on a separate “special session” track, aside from regular business. The state’s gap between revenues and spending has become a perennial problem – one that Schwarzenegger vowed to immediately solve when he became governor during an unprecedented recall election in which Davis was ousted in 2003. “This is a common thing for California that we’re going on this roller-coaster ride,” Schwarzenegger said Friday during a speech in Long Beach to promote his health-care plan. “What we have to do is fix the budget system.” One thing the governor said that lawmakers can do to help ease the budget pinch is to pass his health-care plan. Schwarzenegger estimated that his plan would bring in an additional $4billion in federal Medi-Cal funding – money he suggested would prevent otherwise inevitable cuts to social services programs. [email protected] (916) 447-9302. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SACRAMENTO – Facing a projected $14billion budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Friday he will declare a fiscal emergency, which will allow him and lawmakers to cut spending more quickly and also sets the stage for slashing state services and programs perhaps by as much as 10 percent. Legislative leaders said they will meet with Schwarzenegger next week to begin working on what the governor described as “across-the-board” cuts. His aides said departments have been told to prepare for a range of possible cuts, with 10 percent a central figure. “We are going to call this January for a fiscal emergency when the legislators come back,” Schwarzenegger said. “We will make that announcement next week sometime with the legislative leaders.” California’s fiscal crisis, which is beginning to approach levels that undid recalled Gov. Gray Davis, is due primarily to a collapsed housing market and related woes in the subprime mortgage industry. It also doesn’t help that while the state’s revenues are especially volatile – disproportionately reliant on income taxes – it has a number of fixed costs as well as guaranteed funding that was adopted by voters, most notably for public education. Much of California’s general fund budget, which totals $102billion for the 2007-08 fiscal year that began July 1, is earmarked for education, transportation and other uses. Therefore, cuts often fall disproportionately on social services and the poor, elderly and disabled that rely on them. Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez, D-Los Angeles, indicated in a statement that dealing with a fiscal emergency will not be an easy process. “We look forward to seeing the specific proposals the governor is constitutionally required to put forward in declaring a fiscal emergency,” Nunez said. “We are committed to working with him to address the ongoing imbalance between the services Californians require and the resources to fund them, and not drawing any lines in the sand.” Alicia Trost, a spokeswoman for state Senate leader Don Perata, D-Oakland, said, “We will take it seriously and respond.”
PALMDALE – The city will see its new leader settling in at the helm in the new year, a push on law enforcement, new retail on the east side, and, perhaps, an airline. Mayor Jim Ledford said one of the major changes for Palmdale in 2007 will be reorganization of City Hall under new City Manager Steve Williams. Williams, the city’s former public works director and assistant city manager, is stepping into the role held by Bob Toone for the past 20 years. “The re-organization gives us a new look at everything,” Ledford said. “The city will get a new stamp or mark from the new leadership.” Ledford said Williams will be deeply involved with trying to find ways to enhance public safety. How exactly that will pan out remains to be seen, but the city will be looking for a strong connection with its residents. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: John Jackson greets a Christmas that he wasn’t sure he’d see“You will see connectivity with residents and neighborhoods,” Ledford said. “There is a role for our residents to play in helping our Sheriff’s Department. The better job we do with that connectivity, the safer our community will be.” The mayor also expects a partnership between the city and Los Angeles County to create two new fire stations in 2007. Station 93 is scheduled to be built at 57th Street East and Avenue R, next to Domenic Massari Park, and Station 136 should be built near Town Center Drive and Bolz Ranch Road in the Rancho Vista area. The stations are expected to cost roughly $4 million each. A public-safety fund set up by the city’s redevelopment agency in 1993 will pay about 24 percent of the cost for Station 93 and 29 percent for Station 136. Palmdale city government has contributed more than $600,000 toward the two stations and will also contribute $130,000 for roadwork and utility lines to support the stations. Scheduled for late 2007 is the completion of the $239 million Palmdale Regional Hospital Medical Center, being developed by Universal Health Services. The hospital will be licensed for 239 beds and will employ about 1,000 workers. That completion date might slip into 2008, Ledford said. Regardless, the project is expected to attract medical offices and those seeking to provide services to the hospital, Ledford said. “You will see significant investment in development in and around the hospital,” Ledford predicted. “It’s a huge economic development in our city. It’ll put more money into the economy, more jobs will be created in the construction of those developments and more jobs created in staffing those developments when they are completed.” The city should also see major retail development in 2007. Among the projects is a 522,760-square-foot shopping center at Avenue R and 47th Street East that will be anchored by a Target store. The Target is expected to be completed in late 2007. Work on that center will carry over into 2008. At 47th Street East and Avenue S, a shopping center is under construction that will add more than 63,000 square feet of retail and office space when complete. That project will include a Chili’s restaurant, Starbucks coffee and a Subway sandwich shop. “You will see those developments start to materialize,” Ledford said. “They will be welcomed additions to the eastside landscape.” A possibility for 2007 is an airline. A coalition led by Los Angeles World Airports is offering $4.6 million in incentives to attract air service for Palmdale. The coalition, called Wheels Up Palmdale, will offer more than $2 million in funding to offset operating costs for an airline serving the community and an additional $2.6 million in the form of terminal rental waivers and nonmonetary services, such as marketing. The money will be given only in the event the airline shows an operating loss in its Palmdale operations. A $900,000 federal grant is a major portion of that incentive package. “Our federal grant will be a huge factor in that,” Ledford said of soliciting an airline. “That’s a major enticement.” Ledford is also hopeful that LAWA will be able to fill Site 9, the former B-1 bomber factory that has been rented out as a movie soundstage, most recently for the third “Pirates of the Caribbean” film. The facility, at Rancho Vista Boulevard and 30th Street East, has 1 million square feet of industrial floor space. “The movies are fun and exciting, but those buildings are designed for an airport,” Ledford said. “There’s a huge opportunity out there.” [email protected] (661) 267-5743 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!