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Jon Fleischman

Arnold’s Inauguration, The Vote on Joe Nunez, and Congrats to Poizner, Leonard and Steel

ARNOLD’S INAUGURATION DAY
Today the 38th Governor of the State of California will be sworn in to a full four-year term in office.  It is pretty clear that this will be a bitter-sweet day for Republicans as Arnold Schwarzenegger is going to make it clear in his inaugural address that he will be Governing as a centrist, which by my definition means that he will be hanging up any set of defining GOP principles and instead he will attempt to govern by finding ‘middle ground’ and ‘compromise’ on a host of issues that, from a conservative point of view, are issues that aren’t gray at all, but are black and white.  Chief among these is the notion that California government is too large, and that it taxes to much, spends too much and regulates too much.
 
Along with most Californians and the overwhelming number of Republican voters, I supported Arnold Schwarzenegger for re-election.  Not simply because he would be an infinitely better Governor than Phil Angelides — as we saw on the campaign train, Homer Simpson would have governed California better than that tax-and-spend, uninspiring liberal retread.  But Arnold Schwarzenegger garnered much Republican support because he campaigned as a fiscal conservative.  His mantra of "I will not raise taxes" was ingrained into virtually every major address that he made.
 
Well, along with many others who supported the Governor, I expect him to make good on that pledge.  But it would appear that this is a case of definitions, and making it clear as to what exactly is a tax increase.  The Governor clearly has to decide that for himself.  But for me, a ‘tax’ means that the state government increases a fee, imposes a regulation, or creates a law that takes in more money — all of which taxes the businesses and the people of the Golden State.  If there is a big ledger out there and the tally is kept between "rights and responsibilities of the individual" and "rights and responsibilities of the government" — the tick marks under the latter column are taxes on the people, and should be avoided at all costs.
 
We will hear from the Governor today talk about coming together to solve problems — about taking off party labels and rolling up our sleeves.  Well, it is my hope that the Governor will remember that an awful lot of us that worked for his re-election feel that the number one problem facing state government is that it is too big and it spends too much, and that we pay too much in taxes, have too many fees, and too many regulations.  We expect him to make no compromise when it comes to whether or not government should grow or shrink.
 
Today is a day for celebration, and everyone who worked hard on the Governor’s campaign should enjoy the revelry, indeed.  I will be.  But as the Governor prepares to continue to run the largest state government in America for the next four years, it is my hope that he will remember that freedom and liberty are the cornerstones of our Democratic Republic.  In order for Californians to be free, and to enjoy their liberty, we must strive to decrease, not increase, the role that government plays in our daily lives.
 
ARE SENATE REPUBLICANS UP TO THE CHALLENGE?  CAN THEY UNITE?
The first big test of the ability of Senate Republicans to unite as a cohesive caucus will take place next week.  Joe Nunez, a member of the State Board of Education, is up for a confirmation vote in the State Senate.  As you can read in the blog post by Senator Jim Battin today, Nunez has been one of the very top political leaders for the state’s public employee unions.  He was the Chairman of the union-led effort to torpedo all of the common-sense reform measures that the Governor campaigned for in the 2005 special election.  This is the very last person we need on a board that determines education policy in this state.  Well, his confirmation requires a 2/3rds vote of the Senate, which means that it would require at least two Republican votes.  We hope that Senate Republican Leader Dick Ackerman can hold together his caucus and do the right think — and decline to confirm Nunez.  It is an important message that needs to be sent.  And more importantly, this vote will set the tone as to whether Republicans in the upper house can stay united on a 2/3 vote issue.  If they can, it will change the dynamics on budget negotiations and much more…
 
CONGRATS TO POIZNER AND STEEL
On a closing note, congratulations to incoming State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, incoming Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel, and re-elected BOE Member Bill Leonard.  All of these fine Republicans will also be sworn into office today, in ceremonies that will be eclipsed by that of the Governor.  All three will have important roles to play the next four years in California government.  All go into their positions grounded with the idea that it is the taxpayers they serve…
 
Have a great day!

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