Arnold’s Federal Funding Tantrum Makes Matters Worse

Arnold Schwarzenegger made a big splash with his budget earlier this month, calling on the federal government to deliver $7 billion to the state or else the kids get hit. As if hostage tactics weren’t enough to piss off the feds, Arnold went around claiming that California’s Democratic congressional delegation had failed to bring home its share of the federal bacon. One might assume that pissing off Democrats facing re-election battles, including those facing off against Arnold’s former finance director, would be a poor way to make your case, but it didn’t stop Arnold.

Instead of giving into his temper tantrum, Senator Barbara Boxer pointed out that in fact CA got a lot more money from the feds in 2009 than we gave in tax dollars, suggesting she’s actually done a pretty damn good job of getting federal aid for her state.

In fact, as the California Budget Project points out, Boxer understated the case:

Never one to accept someone else’s data without question, we reviewed the data and assumptions behind the data. Our own analysis suggests that California actually receives $1.50 back for each dollar in taxes paid, a figure slightly higher than the Senator’s.

The irony is compounded when you consider that Arnold prefers to replace Barbara Boxer with Tom Campbell, who would immediately vote to slash federal spending and join a GOP caucus determined to finish what Bush started and destroy government’s ability to fund its services – a GOP caucus that would have not authorized a dime of the $787 billion stimulus a year ago that’s kept California afloat, and certainly won’t do so again.

Already Arnold’s temper tantrum has cost the state more funds. By calling out Ben Nelson’s Medicare deal, Arnold ensured that the deal was tacitly abandoned by the White House in negotiations with Congress, instead of extended to all 50 states. And the louder Arnold complains and demands a special deal for California, the less likely it is that he’ll get one.

As Jean Ross wrote, California and the other 49 states most certainly deserve and need federal aid:

We strongly believe that there’s a case to be made for federal aid to all states, not just California. With most states facing serious budget shortfalls, there’s reason to fear that another round of state and local government budget cuts could push the nation back into recession or, at a minimum, delay what is already anticipated to be a weak recovery. We hope the Governor will change his tune, join with his fellow governors, and call on Congress and the President to build on the success of the ARRA by providing states additional funds to blunt the impact of budget-balancing efforts.

But Arnold, in typical fashion, prefers to bluster on TV to actually doing the hard work of lining up support and votes for federal aid to the states, and prefers to try and screw Democrats in order to advance the electoral goals of his fellow Republicans.

Worst. Governor. Ever.