Arnold's Last Stand - How the Lame-Duck Governor Is Fighting for One Last Win Over Government Employee Unions

For months, California has been a laughingstock state, unable to pass an annual budget, facing a declaration of “fiscal emergency,” fighting over pay cuts and furloughs for government employees, threatening to issue IOUs to creditors. With a “framework” budget agreement expected to pass later this week, looks at why this long fight over a bloated budget may be good news for California’s future.

The Golden State is facing a half-trillion-dollar shortfall in funding its pension commitments to public employees. But this year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has fought the unions and lost many times, got the momentum on his side. As the public seethes over cuts to public services and excessive compensation to public employees, Schwarzenegger has used the budget negotiation as leverage to wring concessions from the Democrats and their patrons in organized labor.

The first steps toward reform have already been taken. Several government employee unions have agreed to less expensive contracts, and the budget deal reportedly includes the repeal of a 1999 law that drastically increased the unfunded pension burden on taxpayers. The termed-out Schwarzenegger won’t be back. But the fight to get the state’s pension crisis under control will continue.

Approximately 6:09 minutes.

Written and produced by Tim Cavanaugh. Shot and edited by Alex Manning.

Related: More Taxes or More Jobs? California Shows We Can't Have Both

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  • ||

    The termed-out Schwarzenegger...

    "I cannot self-terminate."

  • Wegie||

    Arnold is a girlie-man! He has been a liberal since he married Skeletor.

  • ||

    California can't pass a budget because it's only one of three states that require a 2/3 majority to do so. A prop on next month's ballot should change that to a simple majority, which is what it always should have been.

  • ||

    Easily one of the worst ideas for california that has ever been proposed. Making it EASIER to pass the budget is the last thing we need.

  • Ron L||

    Poppa|10.5.10 @ 3:48PM|#
    "A prop on next month's ballot should change that to a simple majority, which is what it always should have been."
    Sorry, brain-dead assertions need evidence. I'll bet you don't have any.

  • ||

    Yes, I hate unions. Stupid five day work week and minimum wage and workplace safety and vacation time and harassment laws. DAMN YOU LIBRULS!!!1!

  • ||

    none of these things have anything to do with the validity/value of a public sector employee union nor the specific contracts California has with the union

  • Spiny Norman||

    Also, you spelled "liberal" incorrectly. Please make a note of it.

  • ||

    I hate these things too, when I don't get them but have to pay for yours.

  • Ron L||

    WARNING! Brain-dead false equivalence follows:

    Libertardian|10.5.10 @ 3:48PM|#
    "Yes, I hate unions. Stupid five day work week and minimum wage and workplace safety and vacation time and harassment laws."

    Ever hear of Henry Ford?

  • ||

    I still can't believe they made this guy governor of California. But then again, Al Franken's a US Senator, which kind of makes Conan the Republican look normal.

  • mich dave from cali||

    Arnie came with great ideas but never stood a chance with a corrupt Democratic legislature and an idiotic voting population.

    He should have put up more of a fight instead of rolling over and giving in. But the outcome would have been the same.

  • ||

    FWIW, I keep wondering why anybody is really surprised that a governor would not be able to control the budget and get meaningful changes made when he's not of the dominate party and/or that party does not think that there is a problem. Maybe if the voters had put more (a lot of) pressure on the legislature then something might be accomplished.

    There is no use to try and lead a mob in a direction that it does not think or want to go in. Some people may be satisfied with butting their heads against a concrete wall, others tend to give up on futile things (until circumstances change to make the things not quite so futile).

  • AlanS in Anaheim||

    Whatever Arnold concessions negotiates with the unions, Jerry Brown will give back if he is elected.

  • AlanS in Anaheim||

    Let me rephrase that:

    Whatever concessions Arnold negotiates with the unions, Jerry Brown will give back if he is elected.

  • ||

    We understood it the first time. We're used to drunken babbling here.

  • Some Guy||

    Doesn't he need one first win before one last win?

  • J. Terrence Dennehy||


    Good segment. The movie clip of Arnold holding the bad guy at the building's edge was a nice touch. I wonder if an outright debt default might do California some good. When the voters learn that stiffing "the greedy Wall Streeters" that hold the state's debt leads to excessively high future borrowing costs, or no access to bond market funding at all, then the voters might get a sense of the importance of distinguishing between "needs" and "wants" (i.e.--"budgeting" like a grown-ups) as the state is forced to pay bills from current tax revenues.

    Take heart California grown-ups! Just a year ago New Jersey also seemed ungovernable (huge budget deficit, yawning pension deficits, unbending state unions). A fiesty Governor and a fed-up voting population are turning things around. Tim, you wouldn't recognize your home state.

  • JoshINHB||

    Yeah right.

    Here Gloria Steinem's bullshit sob story about an illegal alien can is sinking a rational if bland candidate in favor of the union's marionette.

    We have the stupidest electorate on earth and we're totally fucked.

    If these people lived in Zimbabwe these dumb fucks would keep re elected Mugabe.

  • ||

    Yep, CA is "The Dumbest Place on Earth". As Martin Owens comments below, the real problem is the CA electorate. We (as a resident I can't exclude myself) have boned ourselves so thoroughly there is no escape. How else do you explain 18 years of Barbara "Blank Check" Boxer in the Senate?

  • Apogee||

    I wonder if an outright debt default might do California some good.

    Probably not. What CA needs is to be treated like the Iraqi army in the first Gulf war.

    1st cut it off, then kill it.

  • Drax the Destroyer||

    Where is Lex Luthor when you need him?

  • ||

    The real culprit in this story is the California voter. He/she/it is totally convinced that the job of government is to provide whatever they're pleased to desire, and then make someone else pay for it. As long as that's the working philosophy, there will never be enough money- or enough of anything else.

  • mich dave from cali||

    Yes, California voters, not Arnie, are the real villains here.

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