EDITOR’S NOTE: This article appears in the January 26, 2004, issue of National Review.
This is a new political environment. This is the first time California has had an Austrian-born Mr. Universe as governor.–Arnold Schwarzenegger, November 17, 2003
When Arnold Schwarzenegger came calling on Halloween night–appropriately, my kids were out trick-or-treating in Terminator costumes–to ask if I would serve on his budget-audit committee, I already knew that California’s budget situation was a horrible mess. But I had no idea just how gloomy the fiscal outlook really was.
After countless hours combing through the budget with star budget director Donna Arduin, we realized that the state faces roughly $15 billion annual deficits, twice as high as expected, from here to eternity. California’s budget deficit is now larger than those of the other 49 states combined–and this state is already the most indebted in the nation.
So how is Arnold doing so far in filling this enormous fiscal black hole? He has already scored some impressive victories: He has–much to the indignation of the liberal intelligentsia–unilaterally slashed $150 million from the budget, including money for left-wing groups such as a taxpayer-funded pro-union think tank run out of the University of California.
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