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Learning From the Schwarzenegger Era

This op-ed writer does not look kindly at the 7-year legacy of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. As Gov. Jerry Brown addresses the $28 billion budget deficit left by his predecessor, Joe Mathews considers Schwarzenegger's legacy.
January 5, 2011, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Word is that California Governor Jerry Brown plans to ask voters in a June election to renew temporary taxes set to expire, setting a far different course than his predecessor. After winning the recall election of 2003, Gov. Schwarzenegger signed Executive Order #1: Revoking an increase (actually a restoration) of the vehicle license fee, adding $4 billion to the budget deficit.

Joe Mathews, senior fellow at the New America Foundation, writes: "As he leaves office, Arnold Schwarzenegger is emphasizing his successes as governor. But it is his failures that need more public attention, because they may represent his greatest and most lasting contribution to California.

Schwarzenegger tried everything, and nothing really worked. The tax cuts and spending he supported made the deficit worse. His borrowing added to the debt. Republican lawmakers blocked most revenue increases, and Democrats and the unions blocked cuts. California voters, who love free lunches and hate tough medicine, approved his deficit borrowing in 2004 but rejected proposals that might require sacrifice, including a spending cap, a rainy day fund and a tax increase extension."

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Published on Tuesday, January 4, 2011 in Los Angeles Times - Opinion
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