State of the State: Blow up the boxes |

State of the State: Blow up the boxes

T he Union was encouraged by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s State of the State message Tuesday, for several reasons.

First, he refused to consider raising any taxes before the Legislature deals with the issue of squeezing the maximum amount of fat out of the current cost of running state government. That means looking at the necessity of every department and program, every dollar and employee.

Second, he warned lawmakers that if they didn’t come up with a plan to reform workers’ compensation, he will take his own plan to the people in the November election. The Legislature must stop fiddling while the economic base of our state burns.

Third, on education, he wants to give $2 billion in “categorical” funding to local school districts with no Sacramento strings attached. Who doesn’t believe that our county educators can do a better job of allocating money to get more bang for the buck?

Fourth, he promised to encourage solar power for new homes, which could be a huge economic boost to Nevada County, which is a center for solar technology.

But most of all, Schwarzenegger seems to be turning away from the governmental malaise and laissez-faire spending that has consumed the Capitol in recent years. He is right when he calls California’s executive branch a “mastodon.” And when he declares that “I don’t want to move boxes around, I want to blow them up,’ we want to applaud.

Schwarzenegger’s budget, with proposed cuts, will be released tomorrow, and special interests are already squealing, “Cut them, not us!” But with the state in fiscal crisis, the “Sugar Daddy” era is over, and everyone must begin taking responsibility for the solution.

Will Schwarzenegger’s cutbacks be fair and balanced? A lot depends on the Democratic Legislature, on state bureaucrats, and on citizens themselves. But a dialogue has begun, and for the first time in a long time we have hope that a way out of this black hole is possible.

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