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Why has Schwarzenegger been dubbed "the new King of California politics"?

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Arnold Wins Big on California Budget Propositions

Why has Schwarzenegger been dubbed “the new King of California politics”?

“Trust me,” Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R.-Calif.) told the state GOP convention in San Francisco two weeks ago. He was making the argument for his joint ballot proposals to float $15 billion in bonds and create budget caps and a state “rainy day” fund to rescue his debt-riddled state.

Last week, California voters did indeed demonstrate trust in their governor’s plan to conquer the state’s $22-billion-plus deficit. By 63% to 37%, they approved Proposition 57 allowing California to sell bonds for the first time in state history to slash debt. By 71% to 29%, they also approved Proposition 58, mandating a balanced budget every year without borrowing and creating a “rainy day” reserve for emergencies.

A third measure, Democrat-created Proposition 56, was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin. Backed by big labor and opposed by Schwarzenegger, it would have reduced the legislative majority needed to approve a tax increase from two-thirds to 55%. Approval of his bond measure was a tremendous triumph for Schwarzenegger, who had to overcome not only Democratic reluctance to embrace a balanced budget but also Republican doubts about allowing government to rely on spending borrowed money.

Many conservatives had been inclined to vote “no” on the bond measure and “yes” on the balanced budget initiative, but the text of the two initiatives legally bound them together. One could not become law if the other was not also approved.

“They are double-jointed and, with the governor’s full support, there was legislative agreement that both initiatives had to be enacted in order for either to become law,” Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte told me during the state convention. “Democrats wanted the bond measure and Republicans wanted the balanced budget proposal.”

Because of this agreement, the final paragraph of Proposition 58 says that “this measure shall become operative only if the bond measure . . .is submitted to and approved by the voters at the March 2, 2004, statewide primary election.” A mirror clause was put into Proposition 57.

To be sure, some conservatives voiced dismay over the bond measure. Conservative State Sen. Tom McClintock advocated a no vote and bigger budget cuts to solve the state deficit crisis. Out of deference to Schwarzenegger, however, the state convention endorsed both 57 and 58 with little debate and most Republican elected officials supported them.

The governor also secured endorsements from Democratic U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Democratic State Controller Steve Westly.

The real impact of Propositions 57 and 58 on California’s sea of red ink will not be known for several years. What is clear is that Schwarzenegger–sporting a 61% approval rating–turned both measures from underdogs to big winners in just a month.

That’s what inspired the San Diego Union Tribune to dub him “the new King of California politics.”

Written By

John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on HumanEvents.com. Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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