Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set a very positive, bipartisan tone yesterday with his soaring inaugural address. Drawing heavily on his immigrant past, he expressed his deep appreciation for a diverse state that continues to welcome people from around the globe. ....
California's 38th governor immediately showed his resolve by signing an executive order rescinding the $4 billion car tax increase imposed by Gray Davis. His determination to repeal the law that awards driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants is further proof that he intends to honor his campaign promises. That several Democratic lawmakers who voted for that flawed measure have signaled their willingness to repeal it reflects the bipartisanship Schwarzenegger called for in his speech.
The ''new partnership in California'' that Schwarzenegger envisions will depend on Republicans and Democrats working together to solve the state's chronic fiscal problems. While both sides will differ on what needs to be done, there is no denying the structural defects that have driven California's budget into the ditch. The new governor punctuated that point when he pledged to call a special legislative session on the fiscal crisis. He will spend much of the next three years working to rebuild the state's economy.
The hard part will be to gain legislative consensus on a wide range of issues. ...
While Democrats will disagree with the governor, our hope is they will respect his point of view and respond to the mandate for change that he received from an electorate that believed California was on the wrong track.
San Diego Union-Tribune
The transfer of power is complete. The 38th governor of California is on the job and, true to his word, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's first order of business following his inauguration Monday was to repeal the car-tax hike. He also called the Legislature into special session today to address a range of issues, including workers' compensation and the repeal of a new law that allows undocumented workers to acquire driver's licenses.
But, that is just a warm-up for the most pressing issue tackling a state budget that seems to grow worse by the day. By rolling back the car tax, Schwarzenegger has, on his first day, increased the state's projected budget shortfall now estimated at $10.6 billion by $4.2 billion. Schwarzenegger knows the problems, which he outlined in his inaugural address. ...
Advisers close to Schwarzenegger have said he is considering a plan to ask voters to approve a $20 billion bond measure that would cover an existing shortfall of about $10 billion, help close the gap on next year's shortfall, and provide support for cities and counties. Although the bond solves some problems, there will be huge repayment costs that will almost double the debt by the time it is paid back to $39.7 billion.
... The new governor can certainly use his celebrity, voter mandate and the extraordinary way he was elected to good effect, especially during this honeymoon period. We question, however, whether borrowing from the future to avoid temporary tax increases in the present is the solution Californians signed on for when they elected him. What California needs is an administration that will craft policies to bring back investors and renew employers' confidence.
To be effective, Schwarzenegger must work not only with the Democratic-controlled Legislature, but with members of his own party to institute true reform.
Ventura County (Calif.) Star
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