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Schwarzenegger’s Values on Clear Display in May Revise

Created: 21 May, 2010
Updated: 13 September, 2023
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3 min read

   Before unveiling his 2010-2011 budget revision last week, Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he believed the state budget should be “a reflection of what we in California value most and also it should be a representation of what our administration stands for, in good times or in bad.”

   By purposely turning a blind eye to the billions of taxpayer dollars being squandered every year to subsidize the activities, high salaries, and pension costs of wealthy executives and multinational corporations in the private sector in favor of reviving a series of discredited proposals to eviscerate the Golden State’s network of social infrastructure, Schwarzenegger has clearly demonstrated the kind of values that he believes in.

   Worse, it would seem that he is intent on foisting these values upon the majority of citizens of this state who support public services.

   For many decades now, the rich have gotten richer while everybody else has been getting poorer, and the state and nation are worse off for it.

   The persistent inequity that flows from this situation is one of the defining characteristics of the Great Depression and the current Great Recession.

   With unemployment holding steady at almost 10% nationally and 12% in California alone, the time has come to advance solutions that address some of the central problems in our state.

   In California, a two-thirds vote is needed to pass a state budget.

   Many have cited this provision as an obstacle to progress and a recipe for perpetual gridlock and crisis, because it confers undeserved power on a recalcitrant minority and to lame duck governors without the wherewithal to pass meaningful legislation, because they can exploit the two-thirds budget rule to extract greater tax cuts for the wealthy in exchange for budgets that wipe out the protections and parity provided by our state’s network of public services.

   This imperils the existence of anybody who has to work for a living.

   That is why this November citizens across the state should vote for the Majority Vote Budget Initiative.

   If passed, the measure would enable a state budget to be passed with a simple majority and penalize lawmakers for failing to pass the budget on time by docking their pay.

   It’s a common sense reform that is long overdue.

   In the meantime, the state could realize almost $40 billion worth of savings immediately by: (1) eliminating the $35 billion worth of waste and inefficiency associated with the state’s use of private contractors to perform jobs that civil servants could do for half the cost; (2) end the $500 million a year that taxpayers spend to prop up unproductive businesses through the state’s discredited enterprise zone program; (3) repeal the tax breaks given out to millionaires like Schwarzenegger and multinational corporations.

   In fact, the tax cuts provided to multinational corporations as a condition for passage of the 2009 state budget have been costing Californians $3 billion a year, while income taxes on the rich have been rolled back to the point where average families who have to work for a living wind up paying more taxes every year than corporations like Exxon.

   Together, these practices are bankrupting California to the tune of $39 billion a year.

   We need to do what’s right for the people of California now.