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As recently reported in the San Francisco Chronicle, on New Year’s Day a California law became effective, exceeding federal requirements for providing health insurance covering children. That’s good news and among the reasons Arnold Schwarzenegger can find certain accomplishments to be proud of during his years as California governor. His support of A.B. 32 to reduce greenhouse gases, its implementation during his administration, together with helping campaign against Proposition 23 which would have dismantled it also provided laudable leadership.

With the prior governor best remembered for his stashing campaign contributions cash, then overseeing fiscal decisions which were so short-sighted when adopted and have since proved to be even more ruinious than feared, perhaps Schwarzenegger really thought he could ride into town, clean-it-up and then ride off into the sunset, providing his adopted home with a happy ending fit to be scripted into an awarding winning bio-pic coming to a theater near you soon. Alas, it was not to be.

A foundational flaw for the Sacramento Schwarzenegger was making a recall campaign political promise he didn’t need to, then keeping it! The vehicle license fee reduction budget-blowing hole made by one of his initial acts proved to be fiscally reckless, haunting his attempts to balance budgets throughout his Sacramento stay. Adding up the amount of statewide revenues foregone comes extraordinarily close to the dollars needed for a balanced budget today. Having just paid VLF for 2011, if it meant an improved transportation infrastructure, would have been willing to pay double. Savings of time and money for us all would be well worth it.

It’s clear that a special election for budget-related and other issues is to be held in California during June 2011. We will soon learn what Governor Brown and the State Legislature propose for the voters to consider. Meanwhile Governor Schwarzenegger leaves a legacy of far fewer accomplishments than he hoped for and promised us.

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