Schwarzenegger: Immigrants Not Cause of Budget Woe

Michael R. Blood, AP, April 15, 2009

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Wednesday that health care and other services for illegal immigrants cost California taxpayers as much as $6 billion a year, but that’s not the reason for the state’s financial mess.

While acknowledging the huge burden that comes with millions of illegal residents, the governor said the source of a $42 billion budget hole is a broken system in Sacramento. He urged voters to support six ballot proposals in next month’s special election that he says will repair it.

At an appearance at the Los Angeles Times, the Republican governor estimated that education and other services for illegal immigrants could carry a $4 billion to $6 billion price tag each year.

But to place blame there for the ongoing budget mess–or any other single factor–“would be the wrong thing,” he said.

He added that Washington holds the power to resolve immigration issues, not California, and comprehensive reform is on President Barack Obama’s agenda.

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