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GOP Splits with Governator

Jun
16
2006

When Governor Schwarzenegger was swept into office in 2003, he promised to break the gridlock in Sacramento and do what no Governor had done since 1986—pass a budget by the constitutionally-mandated June 15 deadline. But as midnight tolled on Friday, June 16, 2006, partisan gridlock prevailed—but in a reversal of fortunes, this time it was the Republican Assembly Caucus who were standing in the way of their own Republican Governor.
After succeeding in his first year in office at bringing Democrats and Republicans together to clean up the mess left by Governor Gray Davis, Governor Schwarzenegger went a bridge too far in pushing his reform agenda in 2005—alienating public employee unions with plans to reform pension benefits and teacher tenure. That led Democratic activists to turn on him and subsequently Democratic elected officials—to the point that Controller Steve Wetly, whom Arnold once described as his “twin” though he could unseat the Governator.
In years past, the budget battle either pitted minority Republicans against Democratic Governors or Democratic majorities in the Legislature against Republican Governors. The latter happened fifteen of the last twenty years, and the former in five years under Gray Davis. Never in the past two decades have Assembly Republicans blocked a Republican Governor’s budget—until now.
Just a month ago, an on-time budget seemed like a slam-dunk for Scwarzenegger. Increased revenues meant he could pay back schools and pay off some of the revenue bonds approved by the voters to pay off Gray Davis’ deficits. Democrats liked the plan, as did the Governor—it was his budget after all.
But Republican Assemblymembers—elected from gerrymandered districts reflecting the most conservative 35% of California—somehow couldn’t play nice.
The issue that’s dividing Arnold and Assembly Republicans? Drumroll please… Immigration!
Specifically, Republican legislators don’t want to spend $24 million (out of a $130 billion-plus budget) to give healthcare to undocumented children.
The budget holdup is both mean-spirited and silly.
It’s mean-spirited because if the children we’re talking about are here illegally—it’s not of their own choice. These children should not be punished for the sins of their parents.
It’s silly because the money is insignificant in the larger picture. The public relations value for the Governor’s campaign from passing a budget on time could be worth at least a million dollars—and tax dollars are easier to come by than campaign cash.

Share  Posted by Scott Olin Schmidt at 1:36 PM | Permalink

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