Arnold Schwarzenegger on Budget & Economy

Republican CA Governor


Legislature needs guts on budget; don't be girlie men

Speaking at a rally in a shopping center, he fired the first salvo at his Democratic opponents, invoking the popular sketch "Pumping Up with Hans and Franz" on Saturday Night Live--a sketch that, ironically, was inspired by Arnold.

"If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, "I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers, and I want them to make millions of dollars'--if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men," he shouted, calling on the voters to "terminate them at the polls" if they didn't pass the budget.

Such sound bites were undeniably popular--Arnold's approval rating soared. But this was no way to get things done, and the Democrats dug in their heels even further, determined not to be bullied into accepting devastating cuts that would tear apart the social safety net.

Source: The Governator, by Ian Halperin, p.287 , Oct 12, 2010

Painful spending cuts & temporary tax increases were needed

[In this year's economic recession] we did what we had to do. We made painful spending cuts. We passed temporary tax increases. We permanently eliminated COLAs for most state programs and we made major reforms in welfare and parole.

$11 billion in water bonds will be on the ballot this November. Some people say "how can we afford these bonds in the current economic climate?" I say, how can we not?

Source: California 2010 State of the State Address , Jan 6, 2010

Declaring fiscal emergency; facing insolvency within weeks

For months in the face of a crisis we have been unable to reach agreement on the largest budget deficit in our history. We are in our third special session and we have declared a fiscal emergency and every day that goes by makes the budget problem that much harder to solve.

As a result of all of this, California, the eighth largest economy in the world, faces insolvency within weeks. We have no alternative but to find agreement.

Source: 2009 State of the State Address , Jan 15, 2009

Don’t be economic girlie men

To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: Don’t be economic girlie men! The US economy remains the envy of the world. We have the highest economic growth of any of the world’s major industrialized nations. Don’t you remember the pessimism of twenty years ago when the critics said Japan and Germany were overtaking the US? Ridiculous! Now they say India & China are overtaking us. Don’t you believe it! We may hit a few BUMPS -- but America always moves ahead!
Source: 2004 Republican Convention Speech , Aug 31, 2004

Borrowed $4B & shifted $1B in gas tax to balance the budget

Arnold Schwarzenegger as candidate said, “I teach my kids: don’t spend more than you have. We have to teach that to Sacramento. They borrow, borrow, borrow.” [As governor he] actually proposed $4 billion in borrowing in his first budget. It calls for nearly $10 billion in borrowing, funding shifts, and other budget gimmicks, including diverting to the state’s treasury $1 billion in gas tax revenue reserves for funding roads and extending light-rail lines.
Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p.169-171 , Apr 14, 2004

Cut $1.9B in 2003 & $4.6B in 2004 after promising no cuts

On how he would balance the budget, [Arnold Schwarzenegger as candidate] said, “I already told you that I will find it in medical; I will find it in worker’s compensation; we’ll find it with the Indian money. We’ll find it by going to the federal government for the money. I will find it by finding the waste that is in the government. I will find it because there are so many programs that are overlapping that we can cut, all of those kinds of things. You know, agencies, regulatory agencies that are overlapping.“ (Interview with ABC’s Peter Jennings, October 5, 2003) He also said, ”I hate making cuts. Because it hurts me,“ at a Press Conference in Sacramento on December 1, 2003.

[As governor he actually] proposed $1.9 billion in cuts for 2003 2004, then another $4.6 billion in cuts in the 2004-2005 budget in education and health and human services.

Source: Fanatics and Fools, by Arianna Huffington, p.170 , Apr 14, 2004

California is overregulated

We have the worst economic atmosphere, the worst business atmosphere in California. And what we see is because of the businesses are leaving the state and jobs are leaving the state, and we’re having the highest workers’ compensation costs. We have the highest energy costs here. We have the worst business money management. We have the worst credit rating. We have all of those things that drive businesses away. And we are overregulated, overtaxed and overburdening our businesses.
Source: Recall Debate, Cal. State Univ. at Sacramento , Sep 24, 2003

Bring business back to bring jobs back

We have the worst business climate right now anywhere in the nation. And I think that this is what drives businesses and jobs out of the state and I think we have to reverse that. Because the only way that we can pay off our inherited debt, which experts are now saying is between $12 billion and $20 billion, and deal with the current operating deficit is by bringing businesses back because if we bring businesses back, then we bring jobs back. When we bring jobs back and the economy is booming, then we create more revenue and then we can afford some of the programs and pay off the debt, which is very important, because we’re not going to get any more credit now the way things are going right now.
Source: Recall Debate, Cal. State Univ. at Sacramento , Sep 24, 2003

Reduce billions in waste, fraud, and abuse

After taking a close look at California’s budget, it’s hard to make any sense out of it. California’s budget has become a patchwork of special interest give-aways draining precious resources from core programs such as education, public safety and health care. There are also hundreds of millions of dollars-if not billions-of documented waste, fraud and abuse in state spending. Our first order of business is to get California’s operating deficit-estimated at between $5 and $8 billion-under control.
Source: 2003 Gubernatorial campaign website, JoinArnold.com , Aug 29, 2003

Impose constitutional limit on spending and balanced budget

I will ensure that California government lives within its means-something working families manage to do everyday-and reins in spending to close the operating deficit. I support a constitutional limit on annual spending increases and an unambiguous constitutional requirement that the state pass a balanced budget, so that California never finds itself in this mess again. I will restructure our inherited debt, estimated at between $12 & $20 billion.
Source: 2003 Gubernatorial campaign website, JoinArnold.com , Aug 29, 2003

Reducing deficit is about leadership

As for how to deal with California’s most urgent problem, its $8 billion deficit, Schwarzenegger is not saying much yet, except that, in the end, it’s all about leadership. And leadership is one thing we know for sure has fascinated Schwarzenegger for years. His implacable ambition, from bodybuilding to Hollywood, is the most legendary part of his legend. “I was born to be a leader,” Schwarzenegger once told Britain’s Loaded magazine. “I love the fact that millions of people look up to me.”
Source: Time magazine cover story , Aug 18, 2003

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Page last updated: Oct 26, 2021