Beggars Can't Be Choosers: Taking Apart the State of the State

Governator's last State of the State draws instant analysis

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Governor Schwarzenegger delivers his final State of the State address.

    Big messes call for big fixes. And California's in a big mess.

    But in today's State of the State, all that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger really did was draw attention to how messy things were. The reaction to his final State of the State address this morning was instant, and eviscerating.

    It didn't help that he started by putting his hand out for donations as he delivered the address, calling for teamwork with a rambling anecdote about a pig and a pony.

    He asked the state to dedicate $500 million to his stimulus plan, for which he'll unveil the details Friday and for now just promised “jobs, jobs, jobs."

    RAW VIDEO: State of the State

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    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Wednesday acknowledged that more pain lies ahead for California as it confronts yet another massive budget deficit, but pledged deep reforms he said are vital to the state's economic future.

    This and other promises drew a skeptical response -- for example, his vow to spare education.

    “Although the state faces a nearly $20 billion deficit, he was drawing a line with education,” wrote Wyatt Buchanan and Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Schwarzenegger also called California a "donor state" which sends more to Washington than it gets back. Why not collect what we’re owed by the federal government, asked John Wildermuth at Fox & Hounds.

    Fine, but it's the economy, stupid, said Jim Christie at Reuters. The state needs to cut taxes and increase revenue. “California could cut or slash payments for welfare programs, state parks, higher education and prisons.” But didn’t we already do that?

    Schwarzenegger came into office cutting taxes, but could well leave a trail of tax hikes, a Los Angeles Times editorial points out. Which would be a welcome change, since we've gotten by for years by pushing problems into the future.

    The speech wasn't all bad. Carla Marinucci collected the best lines of the speech on sfgate.com, like "The budget crisis is our Katrina." And the Sacramento Bee's Capitol Alert dove deeper, analyzing the speech's hot topics through a playful word cloud.

    Prominent among them: "pig" and pony."