Bold Proposals in First Gov Speeches

California ­— where an epic struggle to avoid fiscal disaster continues — can turn itself around if lawmakers make sweeping changes to the state's basic tax and budget practices, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) said on Wednesday (Jan. 6).

“Here is what we need to accept: Our economy is 21st century, but our tax system is 20th century,” Schwarzenegger said, urging lawmakers to make election-year changes not only to the state's tax code, but also to its budgeting and pension systems. California lawmakers were forced to cut $60 billion last year alone because of a ballooning deficit between expenses and revenues, Schwarzenegger said, punctuating the need for dramatic reform.

“Bold is what we do in California,” Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger and two other governors — Kentucky's Steve Beshear (D) and New York's David Paterson (D) — on Wednesday became the first to deliver state of the state addresses to their legislatures this year. All three used the occasion to push policy proposals aimed at helping their states gain jobs and emerge from fiscal crisis, with another difficult budget year ahead.

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