It’s a question I find myself asking more often, as evidence mounts of his sheer incompetence at managing the state’s finances. Remember that Arnold’s very first act as governor was to blow a $6 billion hole in the budget by repealing the reinstatement of the VLF. Since then Arnold has slowly but steadily argued for budget cuts while holding the line on new spending. His solution to the 2003 budget crisis – massive borrowing – has led to annual costs of $3-$4 billion. The entire current budget deficit can be laid at his feet.
Now Arnold has gone and made it worse. As Matier and Ross explain in today’s column, Arnold’s high-profile “omg we need $7 billion to live” stunt has backfired dramatically. Arnold’s dire warnings have apparently convinced Wall Street that California isn’t a good credit risk:
What began with the governor’s call to arms over the national credit crunch – and fears about whether California would be able to secure a normally routine, $7 billion short-term loan so it could pay its bills – quickly escalated into something even bigger.
That happened when Schwarzenegger went public with California’s dismal money picture, followed by state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata’s projection that the state’s finances could be more than $5 billion out of whack by the end of the year.
Suddenly, the state’s troubles got played up in the national press, and lenders got the jitters.
Although it’s worth asking why on earth Don Perata still has any role to play in the budget, the real blame here lies again with Arnold. His reckless disregard for California’s budget has now brought us to the brink of serious, crippling budget cuts. The specter of mid-year cuts, which will be especially devastating to education, is growing thanks to his incompetence.
Much of the California media still tries to let Arnold off the hook by painting the budget crisis as somehow the product of natural forces, or the economic downturn. Economic weakness doesn’t help matters, but the fact remains that Arnold’s polices are the direct cause of our state’s financial crisis.