Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger chided the Legislature today for rushing to make city finances more transparent in the reaction to a scandal in Bell, but refusing to open up state pension and school district finances.
Schwarzenegger said the state should be willing to let the public examine pension records to see who's getting what. He has been demanding that pension reform be part of any state budget deal, saying that the system is too generous in benefits and places too great a burden on a deficit-riddled budget.
Coincidentally, an Orange County Register article today delved into the pension that Attorney General Jerry Brown has earned over decades of on-again, off-again public office, noting that the precise amount of his pension is confidential.
While legislators require cities to be more open, Schwarzenegger said, "Let's put that kind of information (pension detail) at the same time on the website."
He also complained that school finances are often opaque, citing the rapidly escalating costs of building the Robert F. Kennedy Learning Center on the site of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. Schwarzenegger's wife, Maria, is part of the Kennedy family.
Schwarzenegger's remarks came during a wide-ranging appearance before the Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, meeting in Los Angeles.
He told the audience that while the state budget stalemate continues, describing it as "basic philosophical differences," he believes it could be resolved "within the month of August..." But he also renewed his vow not to sign a budget that includes new taxes, which Democratic leaders have proposed,
Finally, Schwarzenegger took another shot at state employees who complain about furloughs (which are now tied up in the courts), referring to a chart purporting to prove that public workers have fared much better than those in the private economy during the recession.
"They're not in touch with reality," Schwarzenegger said of the state workers.