ARNOLD’S FIRST MOVE A GOOD ONE

CNN reports an encouraging beginning:

Trying to send a message of inclusiveness after a rancorous recall campaign, California Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger announced the appointment of a transition team Thursday that includes political luminaries from both the left and right.

Schwarzenegger, a Republican, also launched a comprehensive audit to “let the sunshine in” on the state’s troubled finances, a task that will be overseen by a woman who has done similar work for three other GOP governors, including Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.

The 65-member transition team includes the state’s last previous Republican governor, Pete Wilson; the former GOP mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan; George Schultz, who was Ronald Reagan’s secretary of state; and Bill Simon, a Republican who dropped out of the recall race.

It also includes Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown — both Democrats who campaigned alongside Gov. Gray Davis in his efforts to beat the recall — and Susan Estrich, a law professor who ran the losing presidential campaign of Democrat Michael Dukakis in 1988.

“As I said in my campaign all along, I want to reach out. I want to be the people’s governor,” Schwarzenegger said at a news conference.

“You will see a very diversified team of people on that list. You will see people that are to the left, people that are to the right and people that are to the center.”

While it’s obvious that no consensus will come from such a group, it is brilliant political imagery. Willie Brown and Dick Riordan are two of the most savvy politicians in the state, and the other names I recognize do send a message of inclusiveness to a very broad constituency.

This also sounds promising:

Schwarzenegger said he had asked Donna Arduin, budget director for Florida Gov. Bush, to oversee a comprehensive audit of state finances. She also has worked for former Michigan Gov. John Engler and New York Gov. George Pataki.

Arduin, on leave from her Florida post, said she would begin the audit Thursday afternoon. It will be completed in time for Schwarzenegger to submit a budget to the Legislature in January, she said.

“We’re ready to go,” she said.

During the campaign, Schwarzenegger pledged to deal with the state’s budget deficits without raising taxes. He said he wanted to audit the books to find waste that could be cut to balance the books.

“We will know very soon what is in there that we don’t know. Every day there are new surprises that we find,” he said.

“And so we want to really open up the books and not have any surprises, because the only way that you can make good decisions is if you have all the information available. And so this is what I’m looking for.”

She’s not going to find $8 billion, but it’s a smart opening play.

FILED UNDER: US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. JohnC says:

    Ah yes. From MetaFilter. Arduin has been criticized by economists and even prominent Florida republicans for “surreal”,misleading, unrealistic, and risky accounting procedures. During her stint as Budget Director, Ms. Arduin oversaw numerous tax cuts aimed at the wealthiest Floridians, while most Floridians saw no significant decrease in taxes. Infact, today Florida has the second most regressive taxes in the nation. The effects of these tax cuts? Unprecidented shortfalls in state tax revenues, with massive budget cuts for public schools, universities, child welfare, vision services for uninsured children, etc.

    Judge a tree by the fruit it bears.

  2. Paul says:

    Other than the fact that Metafilter gets the facts wrong you have a lot to hang your hat on.

    The Republican in question that used the word “surreal” never used it to describe “misleading, unrealistic, and risky accounting procedures.”

    He used to to describe her presentation to the lege saying they could balance the budget without raising taxes.

    The battle in Florida over taxation comes down to an issue of tax reform. Back in the 1950’s (long before Jeb) they decided that a sales tax was a better base than an income tax.

    Today Florida has (I think) the highest state sales tax in the country at 6%. Local counties have tacked on more money.

    That is fine and dandy in a tourism state but since 9/11 tourism in Fla. has crated. (see today’s WaPo) The shortfall in taxes had nothing to do with income tax cuts. It had to do with a decrease in the sales tax revenue.

    Your source also says they are one of the most regressive states in the union and they say that is Jeb’s fault. That is a good trick since the regression is caused by reliance on sales taxes which happened about the time Jeb Bush was being potty trained.

    But you keep spinning. One day you might even wander into a fact.

    Paul

  3. JohnC says:

    You’re right Paul. I’m just throwing flack. A time honored military tactic. Get used to it.

    I’m sure you’re not so much of a whimp that you can’t fly through it to hit your bombing sights. But you might want to check your aim.

  4. JohnC says:

    Noticed that you remained silent to my query, Paul.

  5. Paul says:

    Well- You might also have noticed after you reduce a thread to name calling I usually ignore it.

    But since you are now such a “good government” type I am sure you will have no problem answering my question.

    Paul

  6. melvin toast says:

    My prediction is instead of 8 billion in cuts she’ll find
    18 billion in enron accounting.

    BTW, I thought the deficit was 38 billion and now I hear
    numbers that are smaller than that. How does that work?
    38 billion was last year? What happened?

  7. JohnC says:

    You’ve been taken in by the media. It’s 8-12 billion.

    And hoo boy. You’re right about Enron. I’m sure that Arnie and his buddy Ken Lay will get right to the bottom of all that nonsense.