The Governor’s speech was a blueprint of what he hopes to accomplish his final year in office. Though he took an upbeat tone he couldn’t ignore the ugly truth: That California faces yet another 20 billion dollar shortfall:
Schwarzenegger: “The budget crisis is our Katrina and we knew it was coming. We have known it for years, yet Sacramento would not reinforce its economic levies.”
Though the Governor was optimistic that the worst is over, financially, for the state –he says there’s still a long way to go:
Schwarzenegger: “The first priority for the coming year is obviously to get the economy and to get jobs back….jobs, jobs, jobs”
The Governor proposes doing that through a 500 million dollar job creation package that includes job training. He also wants to extend tax credits for new home buyers and exempt green technology manufacturing equipment from sales tax. And though he acknowledges that deep cuts will also be necessary, the Governor says those won’t come from schools:
Schwarzenegger “But I am drawing this line. Because our future economic well-being is so dependent on education, I will protect education spending in this budget.”
The Governor’s also proposing a constitutional amendment that would ensure the state doesn’t spend more on prisons than it does on higher education. And he wants to rein in corrections costs by privatizing prisons. The speech was full of big ideas, but it’s the details that tend to paralyze progress at the Capitol. More of those will come Friday when the Governor rolls out his budget proposal.
Lawmakers reacted quickly to Governor Schwarzenegger’s speech. Republican Assembly leader Sam Blakeslee praised the governor for making job creation his top priority...
Blakeslee “Government has been a job killing machine. Our greatest social injustice has been the killing of a job because it forces people into poverty. And, he laid out a plan that can move the state forward...”
Some lawmakers also like the governor’s proposed tax breaks incentives for so-called ‘green technology’ companies that create new jobs. Republican Assemblymember Sam Aanestad believes its an idea that’ll work...
Aanestad “Why not? I believe in supply side economics where the fact is you lower taxes and people will spend money and businesses spend money improving themselves and this all stimulates the economy...”
The governor’s pledge to protect funding for education got a lukewarm response. Democratic Speaker of the Assembly Karen Bass says she’s also concerned about education spending. But, Bass says ALL state programs should share the pain equally...
Bass “We don’t support the notion that we’re going to have a fire wall around education and we’re going to eliminate everything else. And, of course what I’m concerned about is health and human services and the safety net because the safety net programs are on life support as it is...”
And, Independent Assemblymember Juan Arambula had this
tongue-in-cheek response to the governor’s call to bring more federal dollars back to California...
Arambula“I think he would propose a new member of the Legislature whose name is ‘Rosy Scenario’ he’s presupposing that there will be massive amounts of money from the federal government, I hope that he’s right, but many of us think that’s not likely to happen.”
Whatever happens, the governor’s message was one of teamwork. He reinforced that by inviting all of the lawmakers for a private lunch after the speech. SOC