Governor Bets on Voters’ Willingness To Endorse Tax Hike
Arnold Schwarzenegger this week made a surprising announcement for a governor who campaigned on a pledge not to raise taxes.
Telling reporters, "I never close the door on anything," Schwarzenegger said he would support a tax increase to help finance health care reform but only on one condition: any increase must be endorsed by voters on the ballot.
With Republican lawmakers opposed to new taxes, the governor now is placing the fate of health care reform in the hands of California voters. And if recent polling data are any indication, it seems that they are willing to back Schwarzenegger's play.
A poll released today by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 72% of voters believe California needs major changes in its health care system. Most tellingly, 63% of Republicans held this view.
The findings are similar to results from a Field Poll last month in which 69% of voters expressed dissatisfaction with California's health care system.
As Schwarzenegger and Democratic lawmakers continue the health care reform debate in the special legislative session, the governor is considering hundreds of bills approved by the Legislature. Health care-related measures on the governor's desk include a bill to expand surgical clinic licensing requirements and a measure to permit physician assistants to write some prescriptions without a doctor's approval.