Schwarzenegger visits Pleasant Hill, advocates reform

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pushed his budget reform proposals this morning in Pleasant Hill at one of his trademark townhall-style meetings.

Click here to watch a video of the town hall meeting posted by the governor’s office.

He wants the Legislature to pass a spending cap tied to annual revenue growth and create a rainy day fund as a hedge against bad fiscal times. But he faces a major political maelstrom in Sacramento. The Legislature is heavily divided over whether to impose only cuts or find new money to cope with an estimated $8 billion deficit next year.

The audience of about 50 people convened by the Contra Costa Council, a business membership organization, was by and large friendly to Schwarzenegger’s reform ideas. It was the governor’s third such townhall meeting in California, where he is trying to elicit public support for his reforms and put pressure on state lawmakers.

But there were a few prominent Democrats seated in the front row who aren’t too happy with the some of the governor’s proposals. Outside, about 40 or so protesters carrying signs chanted, “Save Our Schools!”, in response to the governor’s proposal to reduce the budget next year for education.

Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier of Concord, who is running unopposed in the primary for state Senate, didn’t speak during the event but talked to the press later.

“The governor is very good at what he does in these meetings,” DeSaulnier said. “But to cap growth of the budget and say that it won’t impact the lives of Californians is disingenuous. We still have needs. Our education system is failing our kids. Our healthcare system has problems. How does the governor intend to address the needs of our residents?”

Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia told the governor that he objects to proposed cuts in Medical provider rates, which he said would further erode participation in healthcare programs for the working poor.

Here are a few more photos from the event by Times photographer Susan Pollard. In the photo on the left, DeSaulnier and Gioia sit in the front row.

Also, the governor’s office sent out a photo:

Lisa Vorderbrueggen

  • Lisa Vorderbrueggen

    Here’s an email that came in from a reader on the subject of the state budget:

    Here is the story, some years ago the public employees figured if they elected their cohorts to gov they could get everything they wanted IE the HWY Patrol getting 95 percent of their pay in retirement Etc.

    These people and their stooges have managed to bankrupt the state, and they are asking for more and more. I know we have to pay this to get the best and the brightest. If we were stupid enough to give them more they would raise their pay even higher and be negotiating from a bigger pie.

    Here is the only answer. Mandate no person who gets a check from the state can get more than 50 percent of their pay in retirement and work until 62 to get it. Pay 1/3 of their medical premium. Return class size to 30 to one that would allow through attrition to cut 25 percent of the teachers and administrators. Cut property tax by 50 percent and sales tax. This would allow the people to spend their money on what they want. If they wanted to give the schools 3 or 4 thousand they could. This would also create a lot of jobs in the private sector Contractors Etc. These ideas would correct the out of control spending but cannot be passed because our system of gov doesn’t work.

    That is the story.
    Dan Carter

  • Renegade GOP

    Run Dan Carter for governor in 2010.

  • Arne Simonsen

    The public needs to hear more from Dan Carter!!

    Assemblyman Mark DeSaulnier’s comments (“But to cap growth of the budget and say that it won’t impact the lives of Californians is disingenuous. We still have needs.”) were no surprise to anyone. Keep giving away more of our children’s future (someone is going to have to ultimately pick up the tab on the State debt) to those who can, but won’t go out and earn a living.

    Oh yeah, Mark has the solution – more and higher taxes, fees and assessments; repealing Propositions 13 and 218 and going to a simple majority (or something like 55%) to pass next taxes.

    “Necessity is the mother of invention”; but the Democrats in the State Legislature have taken away the necessity since the State will take care of you from the cradle to the grave (I believe that is what Socialism is all about).

    Had the Governor’s Prop 76 passed a few years back, we wouldn’t be in this problem today. But, the majority of the voters are getting the government they deserve.

  • Thanks for the words. I could have don better but i didn’t know it would be in a blog Dan

  • Hey renegade i appreciate the thought Dan