"Everyone Has To Compromise"
BUDGET DAY PLUS 49 -- That was the simple and straightforward message delivered today by Governor Schwarzenegger after the four legislative leaders left his office with apparently no further progress on resolving the seven week old budget impasse.
The legislative leaders and Schwarzenegger met in one of their well known "Big Five" meetings for about an hour this afternoon. And the first sign of discord came from Assembly GOP Leader Mike Villines, who left the meeting with a not-so-thrilled look on his face.
"You can talk to everybody else when they come out," Villines said as he walked away from the scrum of reporters outside the governor's office. "I don't think [the meeting] was very helpful at all."
Both Democratic leaders apparently left through a back door, thus avoiding any comment on the meeting.
And about 30 minutes later, Schwarzenegger -- who rarely comes out the front doors of his office -- decided to offer his own take on the status of budget talks.
"They all have their ideology, and I totally understand it," the governor said. "But I think we all have to give in order to make this happen."
He also urged legislators to stay at it... perhaps a reference to the around-the-corner national conventions for both parties, which begins with Democrats next week in Denver.
And the governor took special aim at his fellow Republicans, who have refused all proposals for a tax increase.... both Democratic calls for a hike in personal income taxes on the most affluent and Schwarzenegger's own suggestion of a temporary sales tax increase.
"The Republicans want to go out and borrow money, more money before we have paid off our debt," he said in his most pointed criticism to date of GOP legislators.
Schwarzenegger was referring to talk inside the Capitol of borrowing from voter-approved programs to help close the $15 billion budget gap. Several weeks ago, he mentioned the idea in a newspaper interview, but didn't specify who was pushing it.
"I think that's not a good idea," he said.
And then there was this:
"Everyone has to compromise. Anyone that says they don't want to compromise, I think, they're not doing a service to the state of California and to the people of California."
The full audio of Schwarzenegger's comments is below.
A spokesman for Villines denied that Republicans are advocating any new borrowing.
[update 5:14pm And the official response from Senate GOP Leader Dave Cogdill, with a slightly different take on the borrowing accusation: "If Democrats want to increase spending, they are going to have to either raise taxes or borrow money."]