From Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:
“When the world loses one-third of its wealth in 18 months, it is to be expected that historic levels of job losses will follow. Not surprisingly, we and our fellow states have seen unemployment numbers rise sharply during this difficult time. A full recovery will not happen overnight — it will take time, which only further underscores the need to continue the economic stimulus measures I fought for in the February budget. There is no greater priority right now than to stimulate the economy, create jobs and get California back on the road to prosperity.”
From California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer Art Pulaski:
“If ever there was time to sound the alarm, it’s now. The staggering loss of 68,000 jobs in May means more families are teetering on the edge of financial calamity. Instead of throwing families in need a lifeline, the governor threatens to push them over the cliff with his ill-conceived budget proposal.
“The catastrophic cuts the governor has proposed to vital services will shred the safety net that so many families depend upon for survival in these difficult times. Budget cuts will also lead to additional job cuts, exacerbating unemployment.
“Behind every unemployment number is a heartbreaking story of a family in distress. Unless legislators and the governor reach a quick and fair solution to the state budget, we can expect job loss to accelerate and the pain families are feeling to intensify in the months to come.
“We can’t afford more Republican grandstanding. It’s time for a real budget that’s not balanced on the backs of working families.”
UPDATE @ 1:58 P.M.: More views, after the jump…
From Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles:
“The national recession pushing California’s unemployment rate to 11.5% means increased pressure on the state’s already overburdened safety net. It also means we have to continue making every effort possible to help our economy recover. A big part of those efforts will be enacting the responsible budget solutions that the legislature will vote on next week. Those solutions close the state’s deficit, leave a healthy budget reserve and still maintain a state safety net. If those solutions aren’t enacted and California shuts down and stops working, then we won’t be able to do anything to help Californians start working again. Today’s unemployment numbers also underscore an important point suggested in UCLA’s economic forecast earlier this week: a cuts-only approach to the budget—including wholesale elimination of state services and massive layoffs – would make California’s unemployment rate drastically worse and delay our recovery even longer.”
From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:
“Today’s new unemployment numbers show dramatically that California’s shrinking government is having a negative affect on our state’s economy. New figures from the California Economic Development Department show that government jobs declined by over 14,000 from April to May, the largest drop of any job sector in California. The effect of these jobs losses will be felt in every California community. These unemployed middle class workers will have less money to spend on food, clothing and other retail items and will pay less in sales and income taxes in the immediate future. While budget cuts are inevitable in our current fiscal environment, we must be mindful of the ripple effect that cutting government has on California’s economy when considering the amount of cuts in any budget revision.”
From state Insurance Commissioner and Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner:
“Today’s dramatic rise in unemployment is a stark reminder that California’s economy needs to be rebuilt. California’s unemployment rate has exploded — rising by almost five more points since May of last year — and is among the highest in the nation. The latest numbers are also a warning that additional tax increases will further damage California’s economy and hurt, not help, California’s small businesses, working families and unemployed who are already struggling during these difficult times. We need to implement pro-growth economic policies to create jobs and reignite the flow of capital to our state. California needs to fundamentally change its policy direction if it is going to compete economically during these difficult times.”