01/09/04 14:12:05 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Opening Remarks at Budget Press Conference
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01/09/04 14:12:05 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Opening Remarks at Budget Press Conference
Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's Opening Remarks at Budget Press Conference                           Transcript - As Delivered
Over the past five years, the politicians have made a mess of the California budget.  Now it's time to clean it up.
And that begins with the budget I present today.
This morning, I want to talk about the deficit problem that we have inherited.  And how my budget puts California on the path of recovery.
In the last two budgets, the easy choices were made.  Those budgets were shell games, using tricks and gimmicks to put off the hard decisions until after the next election cycle.
As this slide shows, because Sacramento didn't control spending, we have an inherited debt of $22 billion.
Money was spent as if the good times would never end.  This slide shows how revenues from capital gains shot up during the high tech boom.
But when the boom ended, the big spending did not.  Over the past five years, state revenues grew by 25 percent.  But spending increased by 43 percent.  That is irresponsible and that is why the people sent me here to change all that.
Today, we have the inherited debt, and we face a $14 billion deficit in the 2004-2005 budget.
That's the bad news.  The good news is we have a plan to turn California around.
First, we pass the Economic Recovery Bond in March.
Second, we pass the constitutional amendment for a balanced budget and a rainy-day fund.
Third, we attack the structural deficit with a responsible budget.
And fourth, we make California the powerful job-creating machine it once was.
We will get our fiscal house in order.  And this demands that we get rid of the billions of dollars in inherited debt.  That is why the Economic Recovery Bond is so important.  This slide shows how the $15 billion bond will eliminate the inherited debt.
And if this bond does not pass in March, we will be forced to make painful cuts to essential programs.  We cannot let that happen.
Our budget problems also remind us that government must be smarter and more effective.
We will reform the way the state does business if it is in corrections, in education, in health and human services, and other areas.  State government can spend more wisely.  And go after waste, fraud and abuse.
And, we will not raise taxes.  Higher taxes will punish working families.  It will kill jobs and drive businesses away.  It will stall the recovery we need to pay for essential programs.
Another promise I am keeping in this budget is that we will not cut education.
Yesterday, I joined with the education community to announce our agreement to re-base Proposition 98.  I want to thank the educational leaders, for being a partner in California's recovery.
Even with this re-basing, K-12 spending will grow by $216 per child, per year.
But we also improve the quality of education by how we spend our money.
My budget will shift more spending authority to local school districts.
This budget will make reductions.  And these are very difficult decisions that I do not take lightly.
As I said in my State of the State address, if we do not control the spending today, we will put every program at risk tomorrow, and California will be bankrupt.  And a bankrupt California will not be able to provide services for anyone.
As you can see in this slide, my budget makes us live within our means.  And that's exactly what I promised during my campaign: that when I became governor of this state, I will not spend more money than the state takes in.
In the past, this was a house divided, and conquered.  The problems became bigger than the ability to overcome them.
That was then.  But now we have proven that we can work together, side by side, removing the partisan baggage that held everyone back.
Already, the Legislature joined with me to put my California Recovery Plan on the March ballot.
I know every member of the Legislature has good intentions.  They are all interested to make this a better state.
If we work together, we can show the people of California that we are worthy of their trust.
Together, the Legislature and I will take California out of the poor house and make it once again a powerhouse.
I believe with all my heart, that we can turn this state around, and make it once again the greatest state in the greatest country in the world.  Thank you.
Now before I ask Donna Arduin, my genius, my Director of Finance, to give you more details on the budget, Iāll be happy to answer some questions.

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