LA Times (Skelton)
Schwarzenegger, first and foremost, is a competitor who's focused on winning. And he's quick on his feet to move away from a vulnerable position.
The latest example: He apparently intends to abandon his controversial budget-control proposal, one devised by new Finance Director Tom Campbell. Under that plan, if there was a budget hole and the Legislature couldn't fix it, spending would be cut across-the-board. This lacks both controls and flexibility.
The governor is looking at a stronger, more workable plan offered as an initiative by two business leaders: Bill Hauck, president of the Business Roundtable, and Allan Zaremberg, president of the state Chamber of Commerce. They're also longtime students of government.
Under this proposal, spending could increase modestly, but not wildly, even in boom times. Spending could climb only as fast as the three-year average growth of state revenues. If the Legislature couldn't pass a budget on time, the previous spending plan would continue in effect. If a deficit remained unresolved, the governor could cut spending any way he chose.
I like it. If Arnold can get a provision like that through and it really sticks (two big "if"s), many of his other, more ignominious accomplishments will have been almost worth it (I say "almost" because he should have adopted this sort of approach BEFORE adding 15 billion in new debt).