The Swarm

Mix it up with The Bee's editorial board.

January 15, 2009
Schwarzenegger strikes the right tone

I thought the guv's speech was just about right. There has been plenty of combat already, and there will be more. This was a chance to take things down a notch, and he succeeded, with an almost plaintive tone. He is right about the partisanship. The Capitol is obsessed with ideology and defending narrow interests in a way that the general public just cannot understand or relate to. The state is $20-billion short on an ongoing basis. Revenues are $10-billion-plus below the level that Republican lawmakers thought were adequate a few months ago, so adequate that they threatened to override the governor's veto if necessary to put in place a $100 billion dollar general fund. Now revenues are below $90 billion.

We all know the problem is not going to be solved without new revenue, or without deeper cuts. It is just a matter of finding the right combination of the two, and the right mix of temporary and permanent measures and reforms. I don't agree with everything Schwarzenegger is proposing, but right now he does seem to be the only person in the room talking honestly about the problem and willing to try anything to find a solution.

One thing I definitely don't like is his cheap hit on taking away pay if the budget is not done on time. The public loves that idea but it is bad policy. It creates a deep, personal economic conflict of interest for lawmakers at budget time. Those who are independently wealthy could hold out forever. Those who depend on their state paycheck to pay the bills would be forced to cave in. Bad idea.

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About The Swarm

The Swarm is written by members of The Sacramento Bee's editorial board. They meet daily and are separate from the newsroom. Views included here are those of individual writers, and do not necessarily reflect those of a majority of the board or the positions expressed in The Bee's editorials.

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