Arnold Points Finger on Budget Stalemate

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As California's budget stalemate rolled into its 62nd day, Gov.  Arnold Schwarzenegger told a crowd of business leaders in San Francisco Tuesday morning that the state is losing more than $52 million 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 Tuesday, 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.

Bay City News

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