(CNN) - California's governor said he would meet with state leaders Wednesday after voters panned a handful of ballot measures designed to pull the state out of a deepening budget crisis.
Californians voted down five of the six propositions in a special election Tuesday. More than 60 percent of voters shot down each measure, according to final tallies Wednesday.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had said that, if the propositions failed, he would have to make drastic cuts to education and health care, and would probably free many inmates from the state prison system.
With all six measures defeated, the deficit would surge to $21.3 billion, Schwarzenegger's office said last week. Even if all the measures passed, the deficit would hit $15.4 billion at the start of the new fiscal year in July.
Schwarzenegger spoke about the apparent defeat late Tuesday.
(CNN) – He has made it clear that he is still against legalizing marijuana for recreational use, but California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that it is time for California to welcome discussions on the issue.
"I think it is time for debate and I think we ought to study very carefully what other countries are doing that have legalized marijuana and other drugs, what affect it had on those countries, and are they happy with that decision," the governor said.
Schwarzenegger, who was once shown smoking pot in the film 'Pumping Iron,' also said that it is time to consider all sides of the issue.
"I want to look at all that. It could very well be that everyone is happy with the decision and then we can look at that. If not, then we shouldn't do it. Just because of raising revenues, we have to be careful not to make mistakes at the same time," the governor said.
Some suggest that legalizing Marijuana could help the state's ailing economy.
Thirteen states, including California, have legalized Marijuana for medicinal use but not for personal use.
(CNN) – A fellow Republican is calling on California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to resign because of a water crisis in the state's San Joaquin Valley.
"When a government can't provide the people access to a reliable supply of water, it has failed," Rep. Devin Nunes said in a statement Friday. "This government has utterly failed and Governor Schwarzenegger should resign from office," Nunes, who represents California 21st congressional district, also said.
Schwarzenegger's office shot back, saying that the governor is working with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein to try to solve the state's water problems. "Congressman Nunes' attempt to grab headlines with finger pointing will not solve this problem and will only lead to the same gridlock that has paralyzed the water debate in this state for the last 50 years," Schwarzenegger spokesperson Matt David said in a statement e-mailed to CNN. "We encourage Congressman Nunes to be part of the solution as opposed to part of the problem."
Drought conditions in California have forced the state's farmers to abandon or not plant more than 100,000 acres of agricultural land, Schwarzenegger's office said in a separate statement also issued Friday. The office also estimates that losses in agricultural revenue could reach $477 million in 2009.
(CNN) – California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced Tuesday that a special election to fill Labor Secretary Hilda Solis’ vacant House seat will take place on July 14.
Schwarzenegger also announced that the special primary election will be held on May 19.
Solis represented a district in Los Angeles County before being confirmed as President Obama’s secretary of Labor.
(CNN) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Sunday declared President Obama's stimulus plan is "terrific," an assessment that sharply differs from many of his Republican colleagues.
In an appearance on CNN's State of the Union, Schwarzenegger said he welcomes his state's share of the massive $787 billion package, believing it could create as many as 400,000 new jobs.
"We welcome this economic stimulus package. I think it's terrific and will help us," the California governor said. "We were happy even though there's…people complaining. It's not what they envisioned, but what is? The people will give you 1,000 different answers.
"It was Obama that got elected. He put the package together, so let's support it," he also said.
Schwarzenegger's comments differ sharply from those of Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, who earlier on State of the Union said he would turn down some of the stimulus money because it could lead to future spending requirements from his state.
(CNN) – California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is praising his state's budget deal. The agreement, reached earlier today, ended a marathon battle over a bill that raises taxes, cuts spending and helps close the state's $42 billion deficit.
"This is a historic budget, and not only did they pass a great budget but also a great reform package," Schwarzenegger said, soon after the Democratic-controlled state Senate and Assembly passed the budget. "There's budget reform, and then primary reform, education reform, so there's all kind of great things that will have a tremendous impact, a positive impact on the state of California,"
But what does the agreement mean for Schwarzenegger himself, whose approval ratings in California have been stuck in the upper 30 to mid-40 percent range for the past year?
"There's a lot of pain in this budget deal, spending cuts, tax increases," CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider said. "I'm not sure Californians will greet it with celebration."
Schwarzenegger has experienced major swings in popularity during his tenure. His approval rating was in the 50s and 60s his first year and a half in office, but plummeted in mid-2005 after he engaged in a series of battles with California Democratic lawmakers, and backed a series of referendums that failed at the ballot box that November.
(CNN) - California lawmakers in Sacramento passed the state's budget - closing a $42 billion deficit - early Thursday, and it now awaits the signature of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who hailed the lawmakers.
The budget package includes tax increases, spending cuts and borrowing to close the deficit.
It was first approved by the state Senate during a grueling overnight session after lawmakers there agreed to demands from a holdout Republican senator. It was then passed speedily by the Assembly.
"I am extremely proud of the members of the legislature, both Republicans and Democrats, who had the courage to stand up and put the needs of Californians first," Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
"Rather than approaching this unprecedented crisis with gimmicks and temporary solutions, we took the difficult but responsible steps to address our entire $42 billion budget deficit and pass historic bipartisan reform measures."
Schwarzenegger said he was pleased that the legislature that his budget proposal served as a blueprint for this spending plan, which included "spending reductions, revenue increases, economic stimulus and government efficiency."
"This is a very difficult budget, but we have turned this crisis into an opportunity to make real, lasting reforms for California."
There had been a stalemate over budget, and it caused Schwarzenegger to declare a fiscal emergency and send layoff notices to 10,000 state workers.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – While President-elect Barack Obama talks about reforming the federal government by bringing change to Washington, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is looking to the nation’s capital for advice on how to shake up Sacramento.
More specifically, the governor’s senior aides recently turned to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for input on how to enact political reforms and make the government run more efficiently, Schwarzenegger communications director Matt David tells CNN.
David said the discussion between Gingrich and Schwarzenegger chief of staff Susan Kennedy did not focus on the current deadlock over the California state budget, but rather the governor’s goal of creating a more efficient state government that could include “consolidating some agencies and getting rid of overtime and sick time abuse.”
“Since his first day in office, the governor has been looking at ways to reform the political system in Sacramento, to make it more accountable and to also make government more efficient to save taxpayer dollars,” he said.
David, who got to know Gingrich during his work at the conservative group Freedoms Watch, reached out to the former House speaker to ask for suggestions and ideas on the issue of reform.
With the Republican Party searching for a unifying theme, could political reform and smaller government be the GOP rallying cry in 2010? Lacking a natural national leader right now, will Schwarzenegger and/or Gingrich fill that role?
(CNN) – The man once referred to by a rival campaign as “the biggest celebrity in the world” has intentionally been keeping a very low profile in the awkward limbo period between Election Day and his inauguration on January 20.
But on Monday President-Elect Barack Obama stepped out a little and acted decidedly presidential in the middle of a disaster in California.
Obama called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and L.A. Mayor Antonio Villraigosa “to express his concern over the wildfires and to receive an update on the situation,” according to a statement released by the Obama transition team Monday.
In the nearly two weeks since Election Day, Obama has taken great pains to make it clear that President Bush remains in charge of the country and its affairs until Obama’s swearing in two months. At his first press conference as president-elect, Obama stressed that the country only has one president at a time and, Obama did not participate in the recent economic summit of world leaders convened to discuss a coordinated response to the financial crisis that has roiled global securities and credit markets.
Update 3:15 p.m.: The Web site of President-elect Obama's presidential campaign, barackobama.com, was altered after Obama's calls to Gov. Schwarzenegger and Mayor Villaraigosa in order to encourage visitors to the site to donate to relief efforts for the victims of the Southern California wildfires. Click here to read a blog post on the Web site.