Monday, November 17, 2003
  Pander pander pander
It's amazing. Assembly and Senate Democrats in California have had it easy for the past few years. Every statewide office, until today, was held by a Democrat, and the majority of the state Legislature is Democratic. Finally, with the swearing in of a Republican Governor, we'll have some checks and balances in place and an end to this legislative, one party free-for-all.

Arnold says he plans to get to work immediately to fix the state's problems, including the pathetic anti-business environment for which we are now well known. He's also going to reverse a few things that are bad for California, yet slipped through during the period of Democratic legislative chutzpah that preceded Davis' exit in Sacramento, starting with drivers licenses for illegals and the tripling of the car tax.

Driver's licenses for illegals: this one really gets my goat. This was nothing but pure pander to the Latino voters in the run-up to the recall election. Davis had previously vetoed similar bills for various reasons, then turned 180° when he saw the walls closing in on him. Davis effectively alienated many voters, and Bustamante's refusal to make any distinction between legal and illegal immigrants turned many voters off to the Democratic platform, especially those voters like myself who put national security ahead of the "wants" of illegals. Now members of the legislature who vocally supported this bill are backpedaling, due to the political fallout of the move. Davis and Bustamante did not get a majority of the Latino vote. As a matter of fact, many Latinos who have gone through the system the proper and legal way to become voting citizens were firmly against the bill and were offended by the obvious pander. It backfired, and it will be repealed-- if not through the legislature, then through the voters. I'm on the lookout for the petition to get it on the March ballot. Luckily, it looks like Schwarzenegger has no intention of negotiating this one.

Tripling of the car tax: repealing the Vehicle License Fee (VLF) was the first thing the Governor had on his agenda. Many would argue that Californians already paid the fee a few years ago, so why not just go back to it for the good of our budget and economy? I happen to think that the more money you put into the pockets of Californians, the better. We pay sales tax when we buy our cars, we pay tolls and gas taxes every time we drive our cars. How many taxes and fees must we pay to drive our cars? The VLF was inflated, and the "rollback" was hardly a favor by our government-- it was a correction of an overcharge. This state has a bigger spending problem than revenue problem, so it's high time that the government start making tough decisions and cut their out of control spending habits instead of making us pay for their mismanagement. I, for one, am relieved this tax is being repealed.

Arnold also plans to concentrate on making this state more business friendly, starting with worker's compensation laws. California is probably the most business unfriendly state in the nation, with taxes, workers comp, utility, healthcare and other overhead costs that slowly tighten the noose around the necks of business owners. They've been slowly but surely driven from this state, taking with them valuable revenues that we seriously need. Attracting business back to California will go a long way in relieving us of our budget woes.

The most exciting thing that Arnold will likely do here is draw much needed attention to the legislative process in this state. Representatives have been going about their business, virtually unchecked by their constituents, and aided by a power monopoly at the state government level. Californians need to hold a fire to the feet of the people who supposedly work for us in Sacramento. They've been getting a free ride for too long. Maybe now we Californians will start to get involved again. It will be interesting to see which way Californians will go in the next few elections.

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