Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the body builder-action hero, is exiting office much like he entered it, heavy on flourish and style, light on substance.
He will try one last time to balance California's books, unveiling a final package of concepts Monday as he urges the Legislature to cut another $6 billion from the budget.
It will be little more than a feint. There is no magic outside Hollywood.
For all his swagger and hubris, Schwarzenegger is bequeathing a worse budget mess to Jerry Brown than the one he inherited from the man he recalled, Gov. Gray Davis.
Here's what Schwarzenegger inherited, as explained by the Legislative Analyst's Office in 2003, a few days after voters replaced Davis with Schwarzenegger:
"The state is facing a year-end shortfall of $10.2 billion in 2004-05 assuming the vehicle license fee (VLF) rate increase remains in effect, and substantially more if the rate is rolled back."
Schwarzenegger did roll back the car tax, making good on a promise from the 2003 recall campaign, worsening the budget deficit.
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