MAKING CALIFORNIA SAFE FOR TAX CHEATS….Arnold Schwarzenegger has spent the past couple of years busily reprising the greatest hits of the national Republican party, from tax demagoguery to union busting to gay baiting. His latest pick from the songbook is his opposition to efforts to crack down on tax cheating:

The governor has vetoed several bills that would allow agents to go after more businesses and individuals who cost the state millions by cheating on their returns, or not filing at all.

….The governor blocked efforts to increase penalties on retailers who filch the sales taxes they collect, and on companies that don’t collect taxes when they should. A proposal to help authorities garnish wages of convicted tax evaders for as long as their debt is unpaid also was vetoed.

….Republicans and business groups make no apologies.

“We need to encourage businesses to come to California,” said Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee Vice Chairwoman Mimi Walters (R-Laguna Niguel). “If we start to penalize them for every little thing, we will push them out of the state.”

This comes one day after a report that Mr. Tough On Crime is gathering signatures for a classic wedge initiative that would require sex offenders to be tracked for life with global-positioning devices. If you’re against it, of course, that means you’re soft on crime. It’s perfect for his 2006 reelection campaign.

But cracking down on tax cheats? Hold on there, pardner! We can’t go around just penalizing every little thing, can we?