Governor tries to force budget compromise

August 20, 2008 6:14:53 PM PDT
Governor Schwarzenegger used the "t" word as a solution to the state's budget crisis. He's now publicly advocating a temporary increase in the state sales tax, an idea he floated two weeks ago, and a compromise fellow republicans quickly shot down on Wednesday.

The temporary sales tax hike is part of a compromise budget Governor Schwarzenegger put on the table on Wednesday, but first he scolded lawmakers for their partisanship.

Clearly frustrated California is only a couple of weeks away from setting a new record for late budgets; Governor Schwarzenegger publicly admonished lawmakers for the current stalemate.

"This is shameful, and it has already imposed difficult hardship on Californians across the state," said California (R) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger

He even told each party to get out of their ideological corners and meet in the middle.

Republicans have long opposed any sort of tax hike, while Democrats were unwilling to stomach massive cuts to social programs.

And to prove his willingness to compromise, the normally anti-tax Governor, for the first time, publicly said he will support raising taxes.

"I'm willing to compromise on the temporary one-cent increase in the sales tax," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

All the lambasting, though, did little to move lawmakers to the middle. Republicans feel it is the wrong time to raise taxes during this economic downturn, even storming out of a meeting with the Governor when he brought it up on Tuesday.

"We fundamentally believe it will make California a worse place, if you do taxes. It's not because we're somehow dug ideologically," said Minority Leader (R) Mike Villines.

And Democrats want a permanent tax solution to a recurring problem. They don't understand why the Governor cannot convince any of his own members to go along.

"He's in the wrong party, I guess. They think he's a Democrat. He's not a closed deal with us, so he's really out there on an ice float by himself," said Senate President (D) Don Perata.

The Governor also threw a punch at State Controller John Chiang. A judge set a September 12th date to hear Schwarzenegger's lawsuit to force Chiang to pay state workers minimum wage until a budget is passed.

Chiang says the master payroll will begin printing full paychecks Friday for August.

"I'm upset he's not a team player, and I think our state can only function if we are all part of one team," said Gov. Schwarzenegger.

"Next week, we get a full paycheck! That's always nice. Basically, we have to worry about the next one in September," said state worker Greg Savage.

While the Republican National Committee listed Governor Schwarzenegger for a prime speaking spot at first night of the GOP convention, the governor said on Wednesday he may have to decline if there is still no budget.


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