Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a letter Thursday night to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. said that with credit markets essentially frozen, the state, like a slew of others and local governments nationwide, had no access to the short-term financing that normally support day-to-day operations.
"California and other states may be unable to obtain the necessary level of financing to maintain government operations and may be forced to turn to the Federal treasury for short-term financing," Mr. Schwarzenegger said in the letter, which was first reported by The Los Angeles Times.
Treasury officials said they were reviewing the letter.
As the nation's most populous state, California's precarious finances underscore the depths of the financial crisis. The emergency handout, the equivalent of $192 for each resident, would rival the federal government's bailout of New York City in 1975 as it teetered on bankruptcy.