Monday, April 21, 2014

Arnold: Lousy governor with worse memory

elias column sig

From page A8 | December 15, 2012 | 1 Comment

Back when movie muscleman Arnold Schwarzenegger ran for governor for the first time in 2003, seeking to oust Gray Davis from the post to which he had freshly been re-elected, he was often accompanied by two types of people:

One group was car dealers, eager to see the state vehicle license tax lowered by about 60 percent, putting about $6 billion back into the pockets of Californians and thereby greatly increasing car sales. The other was small business owners who invariably said they were thinking of moving out of California because of its high taxes and strict environmental regulations.

“We need Arnold,” one owner of a San Gabriel tire recycling business declared in a prototype late September rally with Schwarzenegger smiling happily beside him. He threatened to move his operation to Las Vegas if Schwarzenegger didn’t win. “It’s just too expensive here and he’ll make things different.”

Schwarzenegger swears in his month-old memoir “Total Recall” (co-written with Peter Petre) that he did just that. For sure, he cut the car tax by $6 billion. That was his first act after taking office, and its consequences still reverberate: That $6 billion per year now adds up to more than $50 billion in lost revenue, much more than it would have taken to pay off the entire state deficit without any of the taxes that became big election issues this fall, and also restore most of the programs that have been cut back since Schwarzenegger took over.

Those includes everything from community colleges and state universities to work-for-welfare, road-building and in-home care for the frail elderly. But at least Schwarzenegger kept the promise he made both to voters and to the car dealers who were among the largest financiers of his campaign.

What about those small business owners? Listen to them now and you’d have to believe Schwarzenegger totally betrayed them. The single law about which they’ve complained most over the past six years is the 2006 Global Warming Solution Act, promoted and signed by Schwarzenegger and better known as Assembly Bill 32.

This one set up the cap-and-trade system that took effect this fall, limiting the amounts of greenhouse gases businesses can emit and gradually reducing them until they’re back to 1992 levels, when California’s populace was about 9 million less than today.

Schwarzenegger’s book doesn’t mention any consequences of his cutting the car tax, nor does he say much about what business lobbies like the state Chamber of Commerce say will be the negative effects of AB32.

He also ignores the middle class exodus from California that began in the mid-1990s and was largely spurred by coastal area residents cashing out their real estate and moving to less expensive states, a trend that increased all through his term in office, despite his promises to stem it.

An often-cited October report from the Manhattan Institute titled “The Great California Exodus” uses federal tax data to find that, for example, net out-migration to Texas in 2006-09, the heart of the Schwarzenegger era, averaged 41,300 people per year. To Nevada, it averaged 25,600 per year.

That one also got by Schwarzenegger admirer Joel Fox, former head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and an anti-tax crusader, when he wrote about Arnold on his Fox & Hounds Daily blog.

“Schwarzenegger’s business-related record . . . deserves a bit of the spotlight,” Fox wrote shortly after the ex-governor’s memoir was published in October, without explaining why California regained from Texas its spot as America’s leading job producer only after Schwarzenegger left office.

Yet Fox – who served as a Schwarzenegger adviser – called him “a refreshing change for the business community” in an article with the headline, “If there were an Oscar for business-friendly, Arnold Schwarzenegger would have won it.”

Is that so? As with other parts of Schwarzenegger’s performance and personality, this was largely illusion.

Major businesses that relocated headquarters or built major factories outside the state during his tenure included Nissan North America, which moved to Tennessee to be nearer its largest assembly plant; Northrop Grumman Inc., whose headquarters moved to the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C. after it was bought by a private investment company; and Intel, which built new plants in Texas and Idaho while keeping its headquarters here.

Republicans and business advocates jump on Gov. Jerry Brown when similar moves occur on his watch, but neither Schwarzenegger nor pals like Fox ever said much about Arnold-era departures.

So much for total recall. This book, like Schwarzenegger’s term in general, would better be titled Flawed Memory.

Thomas Elias is a California author. Reach him at


Discussion | 1 comment

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Rich GiddensDecember 15, 2012 - 7:23 pm

    Excuse me, Mr. Elias, but Arnold is no longer Governor. Your pal, Edmund Brown is. If you think your taxation and over-regulation is going to bring jobs back to California from Texas and South Carolina you are sadly mistaken. But don't worry---the welfare and food stamp line awaits you. Your uber-State doesnt need more tax money---it needs less and it needs to start cutting massively on both its welfare state and police state to start restoring confidence for business and industry to stay here and create jobs.

    Reply | Report abusive comment

Solano News

Fairfield police: Man shot while driving on I-80

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A1

Jelly Belly artist finds her work sweet

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Rodriguez musicians win big in Reno

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1

Best of the best compete at dog show

By Adrienne Harris | From Page: A3 | Gallery

Fairfield police log: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 19, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Fairfield police log: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: April 18, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Street-sweeping dealership comes to Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11 | Gallery

Networking event at Solano College

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

North Bay Pediatrics marks anniversary

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

Firm facilitates building lease in Fairfield

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A11

Weather for Monday, April 21, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12


US / World



Legislature critic is selective

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8







Young Clippers try to mature against Warriors

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Sharks take 2-0 series lead with 7-2 win vs. Kings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

NBA: Refs missed foul call in Warriors-Clippers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Chavez gets 1st win, A’s complete sweep of Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Posey, Lincecum lead Giants to 4-3 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Prep baseball: Pair of 10-run innings powers Vikings to win

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prizefighter Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter dies at 76

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Red Sox remember Boston Marathon victims

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

After bombs, Boston Marathon under tight security

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Wawrinka beats Federer to win Monte Carlo Masters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Westwood wins Malaysian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Jimenez closes with 67 to win Greater Gwinnett

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Kuchar rallies from 4 back to win RBC Heritage

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Duncan scores 27 points, Spurs beat Mavs 90-85

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

James, Wade lead Heat past Bobcats 99-88 in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Nene dominates, Wizards rally past Bulls, 102-93

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8 | Gallery

Aldridge leads Portland over Houston 122-120 in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8





Anne Irene Elizabeth Fulgoni

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 2 Comments