Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Schwarzenegger's Budget Boss to Step Down

From the LA Times:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget director is departing after nearly four years in one of the most influential posts in Sacramento.

Budget czar Mike Genest announced his departure Monday, as a financial crisis continued to grip the state. His Department of Finance has predicted a $7.4-billion deficit for the fiscal year that begins next summer.

The figure is expected to balloon -- perhaps tripling -- as a result of sagging revenues, court rulings blocking recent budget cuts and overly optimistic savings projections by the Legislature and governor.

Genest said in an interview that he would leave by year's end, or sooner if a replacement is found earlier.

"It feels like a good time for me to step back from the day-to-day fray of things," he said.

Red ink has plagued Sacramento during much of Genest's tenure, the second-longest for a budget director since Ronald Reagan was governor.

There have been deep cuts to education, and social services for the needy have been slashed.

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