FROM THIS EPISODE
The State’s budget deficit may be larger than Governor Schwarzenegger thought it was when he proposed cutting parks, education and aid to the aged, blind and disabled. Is it time to get serious about tax breaks and loopholes that favor the rich at the expense of the poor? At the same time, it’s going to be harder to find out what’s going on--because newspapers all over the state are being cut, squeezed and trimmed.
One place where news staffs have been reduced is the State Capitol, where the Governor and the Legislature face a deficit of another kind. The Legislative Analyst, Elizabeth Hill who gets paid for impartial analysis, says the gap between spending and revenue is 1.5 billion more than Governor Schwarzenegger thinks it is; closer to 16 billion than 14. But this weekend, the Governor approved cuts and spending shifts supposedly worth 7 billion.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, almost all employees at 22 dailies and weeklies have been asked to take buyouts. The same owner has reduced newspaper staffs in the San Gabriel Valley and the South Bay, with the San Fernando Valley’s Daily News said to be next. The Orange County Register says rising costs and reduced advertising mean it will print less news, and the latest Editor of the LA Times says his first job will be to “shrink the newsroom.” The new owner, Sam Zell, seems to be focused on anyone over the age of 53.