Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's Department of Finance is planning to explain its latest, dire forecast at some point this afternoon. But if there is really a shortfall of $8 billion to $10 billion in this fiscal year alone, I don't think people are grasping yet what that means.
We're not talking here about a shortfall in a hypothetical, projected budget. This is a shortfall in the budget that is already approved and nearly half spent.So if, by the time any cuts could take effect, $50 billion of the $100 billion general fund is already out the door, that would amount to a 20 percent shortfall over the remaining six months of the fiscal year.
We have been using the phrase "budget crisis" for so long in California that the words no longer have much meaning. But this takes the situation to an entirely new level that will require cuts, and presumably revenue, at a level far beyond what voters and interest groups can probably imagine....Stay tuned. We will monitor this afternoon's briefing and offer an update here.
UPDATE: The Department of Finance has scrubbed plans for a briefing. Word is that they will detail the problem and potential solutions next week.