With only one year left in office, Governor Schwarzenegger has set an ambitious agenda to salvage what many believe to be a disappointing tenure. The Governor aims to work with the Legislature and reform-minded organizations to achieve the following goals:
1. Balance a budget that is $21 billion in the hole, mainly through spending cuts in strategic areas
2. Enact long-term changes to the state's muddled tax structure
3. Establish a more substantial rainy day fund for economic downturns
4. Advocate the Top Two Open Primary in an effort to generate more moderate candidates
5. Convince voters to approve the $11.1 billion bond to revamp the state's aging water infrastructure
6. Reform the state's public pension plan, which has $100 billion of unfunded liabilities through 2015
Skeptics abound as the Governor attempts to effect yet another plan that promises major political and fiscal reform. In 2003, Schwarzenegger campaigned as the candidate who would "end the crazy deficit spending" and change the way state government conducts business. Six years later, the state is mired in massive deficits, political polarization runs rampant, and both the Governor and Democratic-controlled legislature possess dismal approval ratings.
Independent voters are growing tired of the empty rhetoric, broken promises, and ineffective governance in Sacramento. Enslaved by special interests, the party regulars on both sides of the aisle continue to stifle meaningful economic and political reform. It will take radical, new ideas, novel solutions, and thinking outside the box to resuscitate a dying state, and it will take a rapidly growing grassroots movement bucking the trend of reelecting entrenched incumbents to fill the state capitol with a slate of fresh, new faces.