Governator in "Desperation Full Court Press"

Schwarzenegger faces budget stalement, Republican revolt and deadline

By Mike Luery and John Boitnott
|  Tuesday, Nov 25, 2008  |  Updated 6:32 AM PDT
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Governator in "Desperation Full Court Press"

Getty Images

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has nothing against Lincoln or Columbus. He just thinks state workers don't need their holidays as a paid day off while California faces a mounting budget deficit. (Photo by Max Whittaker/Getty Images)

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has undertaken what one observer called a "desperation full court press" to strike a budget deal in California.

Democrats and Republicans are gridlocked, and the governor is in even greater trouble with his party after recent tax-hike proposals.

"There is no agreement to talk about," said Dave Cogdill (R) Senate Republican leader.

The breakdown has come on the heels of an historic vote by the state Republican Party, condemning the governor for his plan to raise more than $4 billion through new taxes.

"This is a condemnation of trying to raise taxes, to Californians at this very critical time, trying to increase the sales tax, trying to increase the vehicle license fee," said Hector Barajas, the communications deputy of the state Republican Party.

For Schwarzenegger, the timing couldn't be worse, because he faces a multi-billion dollar deficit that continues to grow, while trying to fight off a revolt from within his own party.

A recent meeting between the two sides showed the breakdown between Schwarzenegger and state Republicans.

"The members of the Republican caucus all wore nametags, the message being, 'Governor, you haven't done what you need to do to build up your relationship with us.'" said political analyst Steve Swatt.

The governor's office has brushed off the criticism.

"I think when you have Republicans criticizing you on one side and Democrats criticizing you on the other, that most Californians will recognize that we're somewhere in the middle, and we put together a balanced approach, half cuts, half taxes," said gubernatorial press secretary Aaron McLear.

Tuesday's floor session was expected to involve a vote on higher taxes, something Republicans have said they will never support.

The legislature is currently in the middle of a special session called by the Governor, which will end Sunday.

Tuesday is the last possible day for a budget deal before the Thanksgiving break.

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