He didn’t evade, get defensive, or pretend everything is fine. Instead, Gov. Schwarzenegger told the legislature that the people had spoken loudly in the recent election and said no new taxes and we don’t trust you. So, the legislature and state must earn back their trust.
He said redundant, unneeded commissions and boards must be eliminated or merged into smaller, more nimble agencies that genuinely serve the public. Since the state is slashing the amounts of money it gives to municipalities then it needs to ease back on rules and control. Let the municipalities do more.
He point blank said prison spending must be cut back. This is a long overdue direct challenge to the way too powerful and greedy prison guards union. State property should be sold off. He emphasized that California is broke, has no credit and that ‘the day of reckoning is here.’ But, maybe this can be used as a needed, if painful, way to utterly reorganize the state government. Because that’s what’s needed. And it can’t wait.
This isn’t a flashy speech, he’s not grandstanding. Instead it was a serious, eloquent explanation of where California is and what it has to do. I’ve bashed Schwarzenegger some. However this was one of his finest moments and may go down as a pivot moment when the logjam broke and things really began to change. Let’s hope so.