Block on Trump's Asylum Ban Upheld by Supreme Court
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (occasionally known to Californians as "the Governator") gave his last State of the State addressto both houses of the California Legislature last week. Unhampered by reelection concerns but roped in by the ever-present state budget constraints, Gov. Schwarzenegger focused on his top priorities for the upcoming year which include education, tax reform and recovering money for the state from the federal government. The top three priorities he listed were, simply, "jobs, jobs, jobs."
This focus on employment is reassuring to Californians, whose jobless rate is around 12%, well over the national average. The governor proposes to spend about $500 million to train workers for new jobs with the funding provided by the part of the budget which is in surplus. Many Californians might be surprised to find there is part of the budget that is in surplus. The number most often reported for the budget shortfall this year is about $19.9 billion.
The Governor outlined in his speech the program he calls the California Jobs Initiative. The Initiative plans to increase employment in the world's 8th largest economy by creating or retaining close to 100,000 jobs and providing additional training to 140,000 workers to help them keep their current jobs, or compete for better ones.
In addition to the training portion of his program, Gov. Schwarzenegger also hopes to build jobs in the state by creating what he believes will be a positive business environment. To that end, the governor proposes to streamline the environmental impact report portion of the construction permitting process, eliminate the sales taxes on green tech manufacturing equipment and eliminate "frivolous" lawsuits against California small businesses. An additional proposal that could jumpstart the housing industry was also made to extend and expand the current $10,000 homebuyer tax credit to include the purchase of existing homes for first time home buyers.
While the Initiative sounds encouraging, it exists against the backdrop of an unpleasant reality. State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, a Democrat, found the governor's speech as a whole, a bit long on optimism. "It's a little hard to square with the fiscal realities," he told Reuters. Alberto Torrico, the Assembly's Democrat majority leader, forseaw trouble ahead when the Legislature sits down to duke it out over the state's finances for next year. "It's going to be an ugly budget," he said.