SILVER SCREEN POLITICS….Other states have tackled their budget problems resolutely, cutting costs and raising taxes in order to get their budgets into balance. But not Arnold Schwarzenegger’s California. Once again, we stand alone:

Corina Eckl, a state budget expert for the National Conference of State Legislatures, said no other state budget relied on as much borrowing as California’s.

“When you look at the numbers, California stands alone. We are not seeing widespread pushing forward of budget problems,” she said. “Most states are trying to resolve them in their entirety in fiscal 2005.”

The $105.4-billion spending plan signed into law Saturday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger includes a budget shortfall now expected to total as much as $17 billion over the next two years.

This is not a secret. Everyone knows this is what Arnold and the Republicans in the legislature have brought us to, and everyone knows that pushing our deficits into the future just makes them worse. And keep in mind that this estimate already assumes pretty good economic growth. If the economy flattens out even a little, our deficit will climb even higher.

And Arnold’s answer? Reorganize the California bureaucracy, thus saving billions and billions of dollars. This is on the same level as “waste, fraud, and mismanagement” as a longtime political wheeze ? something that sounds good on the stump but that everyone knows perfectly well is just hot air.

Californians elected Arnold because they wanted to live the fantasy. I guess we’re getting our money’s worth.

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