February’s first work week was not a kind one for the only governor with a motion picture body count well in the hundreds.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to work Monday still nursing wounds afflicted on his administration following last week’s barrage of downward-turned thumbs from California lawmakers.
The governor chose to not take his frustration out on a paid holiday…for now.
Schwarzenegger received word last week that his administration’s efforts to install intersection cameras to ticket speeders, defer money owed to various state businesses and borrow more than $900 million for the housing of illegal immigrant prisoners, have all been, for the meantime, shot down.
The governor’s plan to mount cameras at busy intersections to generate revenue from moving violations has been shunned by the Senate Budget Committee, state labor unions and various California auto clubs for fears motorists could be baited into breaking traffic laws. The idea has however gained a great deal of area-wide support, including getting the “green light” from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. If eventually passed, those caught driving 15 mph over the speed limit would face a fine of more than $300; the plan has been projected to put a $400 million ding (not dent) in the state’s $19 billion deficit.
The Assembly Budget Committee last week decided to pass on a proposal by Schwarzenegger to create a law that would allow the administration to temporarily shelve money owed to local government, schools and private companies in times of financial adversity. Representatives from both parties opposed the idea, labeling it as a scheme by the governor’s office to increase administrative horsepower.
President Barack Obama has set aside $90 million from his current spending plan to aid California in paying costs associated with illegal immigrants currently incarcerated for state crimes, according to the Sacramento Bee. Gov. Schwarzenegger has asked the federal government for over $900 million in immigrant housing assistance, which is nearly three times the amount Obama is offering the entire country. Schwarzenegger has also asked to borrow an additional $6 billion in deficit relief.
The State Attorney’s Union is still pursuing legal action against the governor regarding his decision to have two previously paid holidays stricken from state workers’ calendars. The Superior Court of San Francisco last week sided with the governor’s cost-cutting plan, resulting in Columbus Day (second week of October) and Lincoln’s Birthday (February 12) being downgraded to standard workdays.
California’s lack of jobs appears to be a leading agenda item for the most probable 2011 governor hopefuls. Democrat Jerry Brown continues to push the idea of investing in globally friendly technologies and higher education to create more opportunities for a state handcuffed to a 12 percent unemployment rate. There are currently over 10,000 green technology companies in California, according to a recent study. Republicans Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman have proposed tax cuts, and altering regulations that facilitate the relocation of businesses out of state.
As part of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s current budget plan, more funding reductions are expected in the coming months for state social service agencies that assist low-income and disabled citizens. One such program includes the California Work Opportunities and Responsibility to Kids program, or CalWORKs, who provides financial help and childcare services to families in need. Schwarzenegger has also targeted state grants relied on by disabled persons, such as Supplemental Security Income and the State Supplementary Payment.