Arnold Grabs a Spot of Tea As He Endorses Systemic Failure

In Rumsfeld-ian lingo, sometimes Arnold Schwarzenegger is a complete “known-unknown”. That is we know he is a wildcard.  He pulls shenanigans through his puppet Abel Maldonado (see the 2009 Budget Fight) and plays games of brinksmanship.  It’s annoying, but by now we have grown used to it.

On other topics and occasions, I can see Arnold coming from miles away.  And thus is the case with his recent stance on Prop 25, the majority vote budget measure (aka “the on-time budget act”).  Today, he essentially announced his opposition to the measure by saying how much he loves the supermajority.  But then, you have Prop 26 (2/3 on fees), where he even jumps the sketchy “logic” of Rumsfeld and becomes a category unto himself.  First, here’s what he said:

The Republican governor spoke during a “budget roundtable” he convened at the offices of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce. In response to a question on ballot initiatives, he first said taxes and fees should not be increased by a majority vote, a restriction the California Chamber of Commerce  is attempting to strengthen in Proposition 26. He then said he’s not only against approving taxes and fees on a majority-vote basis, but also a state budget.

“Even doing the budget, I even don’t believe in doing the budget by a simple majority,” Schwarzenegger said. “Because if you do a budget by simple majority, again, there is one party that will make all the decisions. I think it needs the input of both of the parties because you can see the first thing (Democrats) did was come up with borrowing or a tax increase.”(SacBee)

Of course, we shouldn’t be surprised that he chose a Chamber forum, as his time in government has been almost entirely dictated by the whims of the business community generally and the dictates of the Chamber specifically.  The hundreds of millions of dollars that they have funnelled to the action hero has served them well. He has held the line while building a bulwark of supposed moderation that appears to create some sort of middle ground. In the end though, Arnold is really no different than the extreme right-wing that is represented in the Legislature’s GOP caucus.

But by signaling that he supports Prop 26’s goal of increasing the supermajority restrictions to cover fees, he is attacking a practice that he tried to use himself on a number of occasions. Sometimes successful, and sometimes not. Most notably, Arnold tried to tack on a fee for firefighting to all homeowner’s insurance policies.  

The fact is that if Prop 26 passes, the last avenue for the legislature to attempt to fund services for the state will be closed.  And the government-haters will have won.  Think the Legislature sucks? Then terrific, take away all their authority, and then see how well they do.  Ours is a system that was created to fail, and this is just one more step.

4 thoughts on “Arnold Grabs a Spot of Tea As He Endorses Systemic Failure”

  1.   Just don’t pass a budget until after election day–that

    will get the it pass (remember, in the last prolonged

    budget fight, even simple majority for passing increased

    taxes was winning in the polls).

  2. I stood up and said this at the California caucus at NN, and I’ll say it as often as I can.

    Every school district in California has to commit to a budget for the upcoming school year by June 30. Once upon a time, this made perfect sense. The state would have its budget done by June 30, and the amount the schools could expect would be reasonably well known, plus or minus the number of incoming/departing students.

    These days, it’s a cruel joke. School boards are supposed to allocate their resources to provide the best possible education for the kids, but they didn’t know, by the time that vote was taken, whether to assume they’d be getting $273 less per student than last year or $450 less per student…. or perhaps even less. (BTW, the average district is getting over $1500 less per student than the state is supposed to be obligated to send for 2010-2011.)

    There’s a final vote to adopt the budget in September, because (ha ha) that will be well after the final numbers from the state are clear. For the past few years, the final state budget has not been final until the school year is half over.

    It’s like trying to run your personal budget not knowing if your salary this year will be $25,000 or $50,000.

    Counties and cities have similar issues.

    Local governments need to know the final budget in time to react responsibly. We need budgets passed on time, by a simple majority. Don’t like the way your rep voted? Then hold him accountable and vote him out.  

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