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California declares “fiscal emergency:” Arnie’s gonna come begging

By Michelle Malkin  •  December 1, 2008 04:15 PM

Burning up.

The land of bloated budgets and gold-plated public unions is collapsing. California has finally realized you can’t run up massive deficits forever. Now, GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a “fiscal emergency.” And you know what’s coming next. Get ready to fork over at least $7 billion in taxpayer-funded loans.

Who’s going to stop this wealth redistribution? Anyone? Anyone?:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared a fiscal emergency and called lawmakers into a special session to address California’s $11.2 billion budget deficit.

The state’s revenue gap is expected to hit $28 billion over the next 19 months unless the governor and lawmakers take bold steps.

Schwarzenegger and Democrats have proposed a combination of tax hikes and spending cuts, but Republican lawmakers have remained steadfast in their refusal to raise taxes.

Unless budget corrections are made quickly, the state is likely to run out of cash in February.

In a statement Monday, Schwarzenegger said California is headed toward “fiscal disaster” without immediate action.

Plenty of blame among Democrats in California to go around. But IBD pointed out some damningly inconvenient truths about Arnie’s culpability recently that bear repeating:

Sadly, the most tangible legacy of the Schwarzenegger era so far is its explosive growth in state spending. It’s up by $41 billion since Davis left, jumping from $104 billion in the 2003-04 budget (the last one that Davis signed) to $145 billion in the fiscal year just ended, 2007-08. That’s a 40% increase, or 33% on a per-capita basis.

John G. Matsusaka, a professor of business and law at the University of Southern California, notes this fact in a recent article and asks fair questions: “Why does it seem like the quality and quantity of government is not all that different from 2004? How many of us feel like we are getting 40% more public services, 40% better schools, roads, parks and so on?”

The honest answer is that a great deal of this money went to make government and its employees richer, not better. For instance, California’s teachers are among the highest-paid in the nation, but by any measure its public schools are far from the nation’s best.

The deep-rooted partnership of public-employee unions and the Democratic Party guarantees that, as taxes rise, the payoff in public services will be paltry while the pay-out to public workers will be lavish.

Schwarzenegger tried, up to a point, to halt this combine shortly after he won the recall vote and seemed genuinely interested in reform. He put good proposals on the ballot in November and saw them defeated, proving that the California electorate sometimes gets it right, sometimes not.

But then he took a turn for which he can only blame himself. He gave up the fight for reform and opted for the basically passive role of deal maker between the two parties.

Looks like that “rebranding” is working out really well for ya, eh, Governor?

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Categories: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Politics