Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday revisited central goals that have eluded him his entire governorship as he proposed a new jobs program and warned of another painful budget year in his final State of the State address to the Legislature.
The governor also proposed a constitutional amendment that would require the state to spend more on higher education than it does on prisons every year.
Those were the big ideas of how Governor Schwarzenegger was going to get California back on its feet. A training program funded by god-knows-what because we are broke to the tune of $20 billion and growing and a bizarre constitutional amendment that would neither reduce crime nor necessarily improve the quality of higher education which is not even the level of education that needs the most help in this state.
Look, nothing is going to improve the situation in this state right now until we get the CALPERS pension situation under control. We’re blogging on the fly and don’t have any good numbers in front of us but when the state employees union set their current pension agreement with the state back at the height of the tech boom in 1999, they tied benefits to some truly outrageous stock market expectations for the decades to come. We are hamstrung by the defined benefits that the stock market has not been able to cover and this situation will get even worse as time goes on.
There are some other, smaller things we can do though, to help put a dent in labor’s influence in Sacramento. A ballot initiative is afoot to make it illegal to use taxpayer money, deducted from the paychecks of state employees, for political purposes.
Steve Poizner, who is running for governor, is backing the initiative. W.C. Varones describes Poizner thusly, “…a long-time undistinguished moderate politician running for governor as a born-again reformist-populist-conservative…” We couldn’t help but think that describes Schwarzenegger but in reverse.
Anyway, get ye over to W.C.’s place for details on that and another fine idea regarding our legislature. Hint: it works just fine in Texas.
P.S. And while we’re on the subject of ballots and elections, swing by K.T.’s joint, who has a few words on the upcoming special election in Massachusetts on Jan. 19th to find a replacement for Ted Kennedy’s vacated Senate seat.