Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger took an active role in Sacramento after inauguration, issuing three executive orders and convening in special extraordinary sessions during his first two days in office. Schwarzenegger quickly upheld his campaign promise to end the car tax implemented in the last days of Gray Davis’s term by repealing the legislation within an hour of his inauguration with Executive Order S-1-03.
“In the election, Californians said they wanted action and not politics as usual,” said Schwarzenegger in a November 21 press release. “I have made sure the DMV implements the car tax cut in days, not months.”
Any Californians who have paid the higher fees since Davis signed the car tax into effect will receive a refund of the repealed fees in early 2004. Californians who have received their registration forms with the higher taxes can figure out how much of the fees they need to pay with the help of the Car Tax Cut Calculator, found at the Governor’s website www.governor.ca.gov .
“The people of California deserve to know the correct tax amount and how much they’ve saved right away,” said Schwarzenegger.
Another executive order, S-2-03, suspends all proposed state regulations. According to a November 17 press release, the proposed regulations “will be suspended for 180 days, pending a thorough review.” Any regulations adopted, amended or repealed during the last five years, mostly during Davis’s term, will be reviewed by state agencies for 90 days. The review was put in place to determine if the regulations are “necessary, clear, consistent and are not unnecessarily burdensome or cause undue harm to California’s economy,” according to the press release.
Executive Order S-3-03 prohibits state agencies from hiring new workers in California’s government that are paid by California’s General Fund, except for “specified positions.”
“It is vital to the economic health and prosperity of California that state government be conducted in the most business-like and economical manner,” said Schwarzenegger, “and that the people of this State be assured that their tax dollars be spent wisely.”
Schwarzenegger also introduced his “California Recovery Plan.” The plan proposes three reforms intended to help Californians. Schwarzenegger wants to impose a “Constitutional Spending Limit,” which will cap the amount of money that the California Government can spend from the general fund in a year. Also included with the spending limit would be a “rainy day” fund, which will hold “revenues in excess of the spending limit,” according to a November 18 press release. The “rainy day” fund can only be spent on “paying off existing debt, cushioning the effects of an economic downturn or providing tax relief.” Also part of the “California Recovery Plan” is a plan to refinance the California deficit, which will allow Californian voters to vote on a $15 billion bond on the March 2004 ballot. “The bond would only be sold if the voters approve the state spending limit,” according to the press release.
Schwarzenegger also hopes to rework California’s Workers Compensation program. This would “ensure that California’s standards are in line with nationally recognized workers’ compensation standards, establish an independent medical review process, expand alternative dispute resolution provisions, and eliminate the necessity of employers who provide healthcare for their employees to carry duplicative workers’ compensation insurance coverage,” according to the press release.
When speaking about his California Recovery Plan, Schwarzenegger told California taxpayers “”I urge them to let their voices be heard. Write or call their legislators and let them know that you want action and you want it now.”