Governor Heads off a Sacramento Raid on Local Property Taxes

County officials amused by actor's riff on lawmakers' reaction

When the state's budget is out of whack, a favorite tactic of  lawmakers in Sacramento is to raid local property taxes. But according to Governor Schwarzenegger, that's not 'in the cards' this time around.

After meeting Tuesday with his counterparts and President-Elect Obama in Philadelphia,  the governor was in San Diego Wednesday to address the California Association of Counties' annual meeting at the Manchester Grand Hyatt hotel.

California has 58 counties, each with budget problems that would escalate if the state 'big-footed' their revenues.

The association's delegates gave the governor their 'President's Award' for efforts ranging from his push for workers' compensation reform to his organizing the campaign for 42 billion dollars in infrastructure bonds.

He then told them he's headed off the Legislature's traditional strategy of grabbing county and city property taxes as 'rainy day funds' in budget emergencies such as this fiscal year's $11 billion revenue shortfall.

"They looked at me, like, in shock: 'What do you mean?  That's what we have always  done.  We've always grabbed their money.  It's easy money,'" the governor quoted figurative Democratic and Republican caucus leaders, drawing a round of laughter.

"And I said, 'It's not easy any more, because I'm going to go out there and talk about that.  And I'm going to rally up the troops, and they're going to push back, big-time …

"And all of a sudden it was gone," the governor continued, laughter starting up again.

"Gone like no one even mentioned it:  'Me?  I never talked about local money.  It must have been them,"  he pantomimed, playing both sides of the aisle in the Legislature. 

" 'No, no, I never mentioned it, never talked about -- local, what?  How do you spell that?  I have no idea what you're talking about'."

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