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SACRAMENTO-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday announced 5,000 layoffs and unveiled two new state budget proposals, neither of them the least bit heartening.

The best case scenario includes more than $9 billion in cuts, including $6.4 billion from education and $2 billion from health and human services, as well as the accelerated collection of $2.8 billion in fees and the borrowing of $7.5 billion from both local governments, which also need the money, and private investment markets. The governor also said he would seek approval to sell public assets such as the Los Angeles Coliseum, Cal Expo, the Cow Palace in San Francisco and the state prison at San Quentin, and would release up to 19,000 undocumented immigrants from state prisons, turning them over to federal authorities.

“This is the harsh reality of the crisis we face,” Schwarzenegger told a Capitol news conference. “Sacramento is not Washington [DC]… we cannot print money.”

Whether the deficit is $15.4 billion or $21.3 billion will depend upon voters. Next week they will vote on three statewide ballot measures that would put an additional $5.9 billion in the state’s general fund for both the current fiscal year and the new fiscal year that begins July 1.

If the measures are voted down, the additional $5.9-billion gap would be made up by cutting $3 billion more from education and health services, raising $1.7 billion through higher fees and borrowing an additional $1.4 billion. Neither plan includes tax increases because the governor and the legislature approved $12.8 billion in temporary tax increases in February.

Whether lobbying for votes or simply telling it like it is, Schwarzenegger said Tuesday’s vote would decide “whether we continue tumbling down the path of financial ruin and despair or stand up, dust off and start a slow, steady march back to prosperity.”

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