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07.01.2008 0

Lessons from the Big Screen

  • On: 07/20/2008 13:59:16
  • In: California News
  • Will the real Schwarzenegger please stand up? This is getting confusing.

    Earlier this year, with California facing a $16 billion deficit for the upcoming fiscal year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) proposed 10 percent across-the-board budget cuts. In presenting his ideas in February, he stated:

    “There will be no raising taxes, because we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and we have a budget system problem.”

    Predictably, California Democrats want to raise taxes. As noted by the Mercury News:

    “…Democrats declared the plan dead on arrival in the Legislature, and said that the size of the budget shortfall demands some boost in revenues…”

    This, of course, should have prompted the Governor to declare any plans to raise taxes dead on don’t arrival – reiterating his February pledge that “[t]here will be no raising taxes.” Instead, he has once again been waffling: proposing closing tax loopholes and not clearly taking tax hikes off the table:

    “A review of the governor’s public remarks on the budget since January point to a politician deeply conflicted over taxes. As recently as February, he took a hard line on the issue…Since then, the governor has struck a more compromising tone, suggesting that ideas such as closing tax loopholes, or applying the sales tax to services currently not subjected to it – such as, say, haircuts and legal advice – should be on the table.

    “The governor’s recent rhetoric is a stark departure from his more absolutist stance on taxes – an issue that has defined him politically possibly more than any other – during both of his campaigns.”

    What makes the Governor’s vacillation all the more appalling is that he is throwing in the towel when he’s way ahead on points. The fact is, by law, the State’s Big Government Democrats cannot raise taxes without a two-thirds vote supporting their onerous demands. As the Mercury News reports:

    “Complicating matters is a requirement in California that tax measures get a two-thirds vote of the Legislature, which Republicans insist they will never allow.”

    In short, all the Governor needs to do is cut spending, hold the line on taxes – and defy the Democrats to call his hand. As Senator George Runner (R-Lancaster) stated, “You’re not going to get tax increases from this Legislature.”

    So, buck it up, Arno. In case you’ve forgotten how, here’s a useful script from your days as the toughest cop in the classroom (just substitute “Democrats” for “kids”):

    “(After kids start complaining about ‘police school’.)

    “Detective John Kimble: Oh, come on.

    “(Kids shout.)

    “Detective John Kimble: Stop whining. You kids are soft. You lack discipline.

    “(Kids shout.)

    “Detective John Kimble: Well, I’ve got news for you. You are mine now. You belong to me.”

    ALG Perspective:
    The way California’s system is structured, Governor Schwarzenegger should be able to make necessary cuts to State spending without raising the tax burden in California. He should up the ante. He already has a trump card with the Assembly’s Republicans, and could even threaten to veto any tax increases (which probably will not pass the legislature anyway). He should be negotiating from a position of strength, not from a position of conciliation.

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