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Calif. Budget Problems Could Affect Fire Protection

Above: Firefighters prepare to battle a blaze November 16, 2008 in Diamond Bar, California.

Governor Schwarzenegger has signed an executive order ensuring all state resources will be available to battle wildfires this summer. But, the announcement comes on the heels of reports that the governor plans to cut Cal Fire funds by ten-percent-or roughly 1,700 workers. That's if voters reject a series of ballot measures later this month. The propositions are intended to help balance the state budget. But, recent polls show most measures are not gaining the support of voters. Governor Schwarzenegger denies the proposed cuts are a last ditch effort to get voters behind the propositions.

"I think that we owe it to tell the people of California what the consequences are so they know…and then they still have a chance to vote yes or no on those initiatives. And, I think it's also important people know about the impact it will have on emergency rooms. And, the impact that it will have on fire stations, that some of them will have to close."

Schwarzenegger says education, health care and some other state agencies can expect deep cuts if the ballot measures fail. The governor says he will not raise taxes any higher. He says cuts are the only option left. Opponents of the ballot measures call the governor's move a "scare tactic."

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