Community colleges hit by stalled budget

July 29, 2010

California is the only state to not pass a budget this year and, starting Thursday, the state community college system is scheduled to be the latest victim. [California Watch]

Without a signed budget, state Controller John Chiang said his office cannot release $155 million in scheduled payment to the community colleges. The colleges will then have to borrow the money, and the amount the state pays in interest will come at the expense of cutting approximately 1,200 classes, according to Scott Lay, president of the Community College League of California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzengger and legislative leaders continue to haggle over the new budget, trying to close the $19-billion shortfall. So far, about $11 billion in spending has been trimmed, so the debate centers around where to make the last $8 billion in cuts.

On Wednesday, Schwarzenegger issued an executive order forcing furloughs on 156,000 state employees, starting Aug. 1. The governor’s spokesman, Aaron McLear, said the emergency order was made because “the governor has a responsibility to advert a cash crisis, and unfortunately because of the Legislature’s continued failure, we have to do furloughs.”

In a speech earlier this week to the LA Chamber of Commerce, the governor threatened to leave office next January without signing a budget. “I will not sign a budget, and it could actually drag out until the next governor gets into office,” he warned.

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