"Turn The Page," Says Schwarzenegger

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C'mon, guys. You can do it.

That's pretty much the message to the Legislature from Governor Schwarzenegger, whose news conference this afternoon including a plea to legislators to reach a bipartisan budget deal, as the likelihood of the state issuing IOUs grows by the day.

But it was also a little pushback as to where the blame lies for what's happened so far.

Not surprisingly, the governor rejected characterizations made by Democratic leaders of his reasons for vetoing their $18 billion fiscal fix.

"Democrats could not stand up to the special interests," he said. And he said he told them that "if you're willing to step over that [ideological] line, then I'm willing to step over that line."

The governor later broadened out the ideological problems to both parties.

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So what's the governor's ideological line? Tax increases, one would assume. But maybe more telling, at least for anti-tax forces, was his comment about the majority-vote tax proposal from the Dems: "I was not that concerned about the two-thirds versus the... majority vote and all of those kinds of things."

Also worth noting was the discussion of his relationship with Republicans. For months, Democrats have argued that Schwarzenegger can't get a single GOP vote in the Legislature for a budget agreement that raises taxes.

Today, he turned the tables -- saying this about the Democratic budget proposals: "I cannot go out and get Republican votes when I wouldn't vote for it," he said. "I would never do that."

(Of course, to be fair, there never appeared to be any GOP votes in the Legislature for the governor's budget plans, not just those from Democrats).

Schwarzenegger also suggested he's no longer willing to chip away at the state's fiscal problem. "We're not talking anymore, let's just carve out a little bit here and a little bit there," he said. "We have to address the $42 billion dollars."

There was very little discussion of the governor's 2009-2010 spending plan that was unceremoniously unveiled last week by his budget director, except for Schwarzenegger's analogy of the plan being like a stool with four legs -- spending cuts, tax increases, economic stimulus, and government reform.

And in the end, the event seemed a little odd in the message department: was it supposed to be a put down, or a pep talk?

Okay, maybe not that kind of pep talk.

In the meantime... as reported here yesterday... Franco is still dead. And state government is still alive. But just barely.

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About John Myers

John Myers is Sacramento Bureau Chief for KQED Public Radio and "The California Report," heard daily on 23 public radio stations across the Golden State.

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