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California will run out of cash in 14 days

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From BizJournals

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The state wallet is empty. The bank closed. Credit has dried up, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told lawmakers in a special Tuesday morning address at the Capitol.

“California’s day of reckoning is here,” he said. With no action, the state will run out of cash in 14 days. Three months after the state budget was approved, California faces a $24 billion deficit.

Schwarzenegger has already proposed massive cuts to education, health care and prisons. Now he’s looking for structural reform to make government more efficient and stretch taxpayer dollars.

He’s asked the State Board of Education, for example, to make textbooks available in digital formats — a move that could save millions.

In 2004, the governor talked about blowing up boxes and consolidating agencies, but the initiatives never gained traction.

They’re back.

Schwarzenegger is proposing once again to eliminate and consolidate more than a dozen state departments, boards and commissions. This includes the Waste Management Board, the Court Reporters Board, the Department of Boating and Waterways and the Inspection and Maintenance Review Committee.

Earlier this year, the state began consolidating information technology departments.

Now Schwarzenegger wants to consolidate departments that oversee financial institutions and merge tax collection operations. In July, state leaders will receive recommendations on how to modernize the tax code.

“This will be a tremendous opportunity to make our revenues more reliable and less volatile and help the state avoid the boom and bust budgets that have brought us here today,” Schwarzenegger told lawmakers.

It’s not going to happen in 14 days, he said. But it could happen before the Legislature adjourns for summer recess on July 17.

Kathy Robertson of the Sacramento Business Journal, an affiliated publication, compiled this report.

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