This morning, Governor Schwarzenegger and senior members of his staff met with public safety leaders from across California to discuss the state budget. Stakeholders from a variety of organizations were were present, including sheriffs, police chiefs, probation, firefighters, and crime victim organizations.
The Governor explained the challenges related to the projected $10 billion budget shortfall as California enters in to the next budget year. The state’s revenue is projected to increase by only 1 percent in the next budget year, but a variety of state programs and public safety programs have projected an 8 percent increase in the cost of maintaining their programs and services.
The Governor expressed his continued support of public safety projects and initiatives and held todays dialog with officials to try and identify ways of maintaining current public safety programming funds.
The Governor and officials who were present acknowledged that current public safety resources at both the state and local level are already stretched – including those agencies and personnel who are dedicated to providing critical incidence response, disaster relief and general crime control services.
The group also discussed the potential impact of anticipated rulings of the three judge panel that is deliberating about prison overcrowding at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Their decision is likely to have profound impacts on future state expenditures.
In addition to reinforcing the importance public safety programming and victim services, crime victim groups present requested that the Governor provide leadership to ensure that dollars designated for crime victims say with victims. In particular, victim’s groups urged the Governor, and legislators, to resist the temptation to borrow against the Crime Victims Compensation Fund as a way to address the budget shortfall.
The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) has forecasted that the next three budget cycles are going to be challenging. As a result, the Governor requested that public safety officials continue to partner with his administration to balance the budget and promote community safety.