Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger criticized the federal government for leaving California in financial peril and asked for its assistance in closing the state’s $20 billion budget gap in his final State of the State speech last week.
"The federal government is part of our problem," said Schwarzenegger. "We are currently owed billions of dollars by the federal government for various programs. We no longer can ignore what is owed to us, or what we are forced to spend on federal mandates," he declared.
Schwarzenegger added that the national healthcare proposal currently being debated in Congress would only increase the state’s mounting debt.
The governor, whose state is facing a 12 percent unemployment rate, also outlined a $500 million plan to train workers, a move that he hopes will create approximately 100,000 jobs.
Schwarzenegger, who cannot run for reelection next year due to term limits, has furthermore called for the privatization of prisons and a massive overhaul of the state budget.
"As bitter as the words are in my mouth, we face additional cuts," he told lawmakers. "We know what that means…we know the pain it entails."