Commentary: Schwarzenegger's budget proposals are only the start

This editorial appeared in The Sacramento Bee.

Given his background, it's no surprise that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is leaning on a heavy dose of theatrics as he desperately tries to persuade voters to approve the bipartisan package of ballot measures that he and the Legislature adopted in February to try to balance the budget.

The governor's show will probably do more harm than good. Voters don't want to be bullied, and they don't want to believe that the situation is as bleak as the governor and lawmakers describe.

But the real news in Schwarzenegger's announcement Thursday was not his dire description of the situation the state will face if voters defeat the ballot package. It was his acknowledgment that California will face a $15 billion shortfall between now and summer 2010 – even if all the ballot measures pass.

To close that gap or the larger one that will emerge if voters defeat the ballot package, Schwarzenegger and lawmakers will need to consider every option the governor listed Thursday – and more.

To read the complete editorial, visit The Sacramento Bee.