Friday, May 05, 2006

"Governator" Takes Credit For Big Bonds Passage

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An early morning surprise awaits the democratic voters in our "Golden State". Big bonds package (Stratagic Growth Plan) is voted on and passed in the State Assembly at 3:03 AM.

Excerpts from Bill Bradley's New West Notes (LA Weekley) -

Big Bonds Pass In Win For Arnold
By Bll Bradley - LA Weekley

In a major boost for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative Democrats -- if not for Democratic gubernatorial candidates Steve Westly and Phil Angelides -- the California Legislature passed the biggest infrastructure bonds package in history a few hours ago, $37 billion for the November ballot. “Today is a proud day for California,” declared Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez. Actually, more like the middle of the night. Passage of the package in the Assembly came at 3:03 AM after earlier adoption by the Senate.

Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, who hosted most of the negotiating sessions in his office, said: “What was at stake was the future of the middle class. People were spending more time in their cars during the week than with their families.”

Not to be outdone, of course, in the general congratulatory air, the governor said: "First, let me thank the legislative leaders for all of their efforts to make the Strategic Growth Plan a reality. In January, I proposed the Strategic Growth Plan during my State of the State address. Everybody said it couldn't be done. Everybody said it was impossible to bring both parties together for such a historic undertaking. But we did it.”

Actually, it’s not entirely clear what Schwarzenegger did to make the massive transportation, flood control, and education facilities measure happen, although he did cancel his appearance at a San Bernardino fundraiser yesterday to remain in Sacramento. The deal was put together during more than a month of negotiations between the “Fab Four” legislative leaders, Perata and Nunez, and the Republican leaders, Dick Ackerman in the Senate and George Plescia in the Assembly. Outgoing Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was also very involved.
This time around, the legislative leaders followed Schwarzenegger’s own advice, issued upon the collapse of the March effort, to work among themselves to produce a deal. Aside from their role in paring down the size of the deal -- from $50 billion in March to $37 billion in May --
Republicans got little of their agenda into the package. No labor law revisions, no dams, limited relief from the California Environmental Quality Act on levee and bridge repair. The pay-as-you-go approach insisted upon by Assembly Republicans was abandoned, though the package does include $500 million as an immediate allocation.
Despite the evident downsizing of Arnold’s role in the process -- not to mention the major scaling back of the package and wholesale changes to his original proposal -- this is a win for him and a serious challenge for the Democratic gubernatorial nominee.
If Jerry Brown could turn around after the passage of Proposition 13 and become “Jerry Jarvis” -- working to implement the popular will expressed in an initiative he opposed on his way to a landslide 1978 re-election victory -- you can bet the farm that Arnold Schwarzenegger will have a field day with the passage of something he highlighted in his State of the State address.

Bonds for the November Ballot
Transportation: $19.9725 billion
Housing: $2.850 billion
Education: $10.416 billion
Flood protection: $4.090 billion

Total: $37,328,500,000

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For Arnold's part, he is taking credit by couching this as a vehicle to shore up our levees. Thank god that Arnie's no Mayor Nagin.

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