May Revise: Dems React

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If the political pundits are to be listened to, today was the equivalent of Black Friday for the two Democrats running for governor.

After all, they argue, why would voters fire the guy who just paid back the IOU to schools, gave more money to social services programs, and called for paying off some of the state's nagging long-term debt?

That was the question facing both Phil Angelides and Steve Westly when they spoke with reporters this afternoon. But rather than change gears when it comes to message, both candidates said Schwarzenegger still hasn't done enough.

Angelides called the revised budget "not worthy of California's future." In particular, he criticized the decision to fund public schools only at the required base level-- and not at new, higher levels. Angelides also took aim at the fact that tuition and fees at both UC and CSU remain higher than they were when Schwarzenegger was elected. And in what sounded like a preview of a general election campaign theme, Angelides said Schwarzenegger should be remembered for how he governed when the state's finances were in the red. "A capitain of a ship is not judged by how they pilot it in calm waters." said Angelides.

Westly also took exception to Schwarzenegger getting credit for the extra revenues. "The governor's been very lucky," he said. Westly then went on to say Schwarzenegger's many government reform proposals have been "a failure" and that California needs to get serious about running a tighter government." Included in that, he says, should be more efforts to clamp down on tax cheats.

And in light of news reports that a lot of this surprise cash came from a small number of super-rich Californians-- especially those who raked in the bucks with this year's IPO of stock at Google-- Westly said, "I hope he's called [CEO Eric] Schmidt at Google and thanked him heartily."

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About John Myers

John Myers is senior editor of KQED's new multimedia California Politics & Government Desk.  He has covered California politics for most of the past two decades -- serving previously as Sacramento bureau chief for KQED News and, most recently, as political editor for KXTV News10 (ABC) in Sacramento. He moderated the only gubernatorial debate of 2014, and was named one of the nation's top statehouse reporters by The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @johnmyers.

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