As California’s budget stalemate rolled into its 62nd day, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told a crowd of business leaders in San Francisco this morning that the state is losing more than $52 million dollars for every day that passes without a resolution.
“Three billion dollars, that money’s gone,” the Republican governor said, speaking at an economic conference hosted by the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
The state is facing an estimated $19 billion deficit as legislators in Sacramento struggle to balance this year’s budget.
Republicans and Democrats were set to meet today, but Schwarzenegger said neither side would get the two-thirds vote needed to pass its version of the budget. He dismissed today’s votes as “kabuki” theater.
Schwarzenegger blamed legislators for the delays, saying he always submits his budgets on time.
“They always start negotiating too late,” he said.
The governor’s 40-minute question-and-answer session mirrored a similar talk he gave to business leaders in Santa Clara earlier this month. He stressed the need to spur economic and job growth and eliminate government waste.
Schwarzenegger also sidestepped a question about who might be best qualified to be the next governor of California.
Whoever steps into the post should continue–as he did, Schwarzenegger said–“building for the future.”
Among his accomplishments, he cited his efforts to improve the state’s water infrastructure and build a high-speed rail system between Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Schwarzenegger also said the state’s next leader also needs to focus on law enforcement issues, political reform and shrinking the size of government.
As for his future after his term ends in January, Schwarzenegger said he has “no plan for what I’m going to do next.” He said he remains focused on trying to push through reforms to the state’s pension plan, the budget process and the tax system.
“If I can accomplish that, I will be a happy camper,” he said.