Preview: Arnold’s speech on the budget package

I’ll be in San Francisco at noon to hear Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger tell the Commonwealth Club of California about the importance of passing the measures on the May 19 special election ballot, which were part of the deal struck to break the state budget deadlock. The campaign for the ballot measures already has sent out excerpts of what he’ll say there:

“Our state capital is a town that feeds on dysfunction. The special interests, left and right, need the process to be dysfunctional. That is how they control Sacramento. That is how they prevent change.”


“But now we have an agreement, passed by two-thirds of the legislature, that puts on the ballot serious budget reform, including a spending limit and a rainy day fund.

“And the very interests, the far left and the far right, that prefer dysfunction over change have already launched a campaign to confuse people and defeat the reform. But this time they are not going to succeed.”

That, of course, is a direct throw-down against people such as state Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, who already are contending the spending cap contained in Proposition 1A would cripple California’s ability to rebuild from deep education, social-service and other cuts already suffered, and make it impossible to make any progress in improving these services in the future.

(UPDATE @ 10:18 A.M. — Former state Controller and 2006 Democratic gubernatorial primary candidate Steve Westly has thrown his support behind the entire special-election agenda: “During my tenure as State Controller, I witnessed firsthand the destruction our unpredictable and unstable budget process causes to California’s taxpayers, small businesses and people who rely on state services. Proposition 1A along with these other measures will do away with the dysfunctional budget system we have today and replace it with a system that will provide more stability and accountability. Prop 1A will instill much needed fiscal discipline so that vital services like education, healthcare, and public safety aren’t put through the budget wringer every year.”)

More Schwarzenegger speech excerpts, after the jump…

“So, let me explain how we came to this historic and important point and what comes next.

California has not had a rainy day fund since Earl Warren was governor back in the late ‘40s, early ‘50s. For six decades we have been struggling because this state has not had a responsible financial system. And so what happened?

“Governor Pat Brown had to raise taxes. Governor Ronald Reagan had to raise taxes. So did George Deukmejian and Pete Wilson and Gray Davis.

“And Arnold Schwarzenegger—even though I try to make myself feel better by noting they’re temporary and expire in four years.

“But why, over all these years and all these governors, has it had to be this way? It’s the system. It’s because the special interests force the state to spend more and more and more. And without a spending limit, there is no way for revenues to ever catch up.”


“Never again do we want to find ourselves wandering around in another $42 billion Valley of Doom. In fact, if our budget reform was in place over the past decade, our deficit this year would have been a much more manageable $5.4 billion.”


“For five years—ever since I was first elected—I have been pushing for change. At times, I have been as frustrated as the people by the slow pace of our progress. I am not frustrated today. I feel good about the change this budget reform will bring to our state.

“Ladies and gentlemen, Sacramento may be an immovable object, but together we can be an irresistible force. With this reform, we can regain control over our budget.

“Let us not fall back into the chaos. Let us pass the reform and move forward. This is the moment. This is the moment to act.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.