While the recall controversy has reached a conclusion the debate continues. The votes are in and in the words of Governor Gray Davis, “The people have spoken.”
However, all is not well at the Capitol.
The Los Angeles Times reported that after Arnold Schwarzenegger’s victory in the recall election, a dispute erupted between the governor elect and Senate leader John Burton, (D-San Francisco) over the tripling of California’s car tax.
Schwarzenegger, moving to keep a campaign promise, told Burton that as governor he could single-handedly repeal the tax hike. Burton disagreed.
“We have a difference of opinion there,” the Republican governor elect told reporters in Los Angeles.
The return of a Republican governor to the Capitol marks a major shift in the balance of power. Schwarzenegger’s opening clash over the vehicle license fee could portend friction between him and the Democrats who control both houses of the Legislature. Losing the $4 billion brought in by the increase, for instance, could jeopardize programs dear to many Democrats, setting a foul tone for budget talks in the months ahead.
“Once you take that oath of office,” Burton said, “unless you’re a total whack-a-do, reality sets in, and you find out campaign rhetoric can’t solve the problems.”
The election results Tuesday suggest that Schwarzenegger’s political center of gravity is well to the right of the Legislature’s.
Most important in the minds of college students, classified staff, faculty and administrators, at Yuba College is whether the uproar over mid-year budget cuts that sent community and state colleges across the state to the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento early this year was only a rehearsal for the reality of new mid year budget cuts that apparently may occur during this upcoming spring semester.
Yuba Community College District’s board of trustees unanimously approved the district’s fiscal 2003-04 budget October 8 which may require another round of mid-year budget-cuts in the future as the district continues to reel from the state budget deficit.
“We are serving the same number of students, but our costs have gone up and our revenue has gone down,” said Mike Dencavage, vice president of business services in an interview with the Appeal- Democrat after the meeting.
San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Before the recall, the state was looking at an $8 billion to $10 billion deficit for the fiscal year (2004-05). After the election, the state is looking at an $8 billion deficit,” says Jeffry Thieman, a vice president in the municipal credit group with Charles Schwab Investment Management.
California Treasure Phil Angelides, the man responsible for selling the state’s bonds, draws the same conclusion.
“The state faces the same problem it had before,” the Democrat said in a press conference Wednesday morning.
Schwarzenegger has said next to nothing about the budget, other than that he will try to restore the two-thirds discount in the vehicle license fee instituted in 1999, when California was flush with tax revenues from stock options and capital gains. The discount was eliminated October 1. Reviving it will cost $4 billion a year.