Schwarzenegger Expected To Address Prescription Drug Costs in State of the State Speech
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday in his State of the State address will call for more budget cuts and announce his plan to reduce the cost of prescription drugs, among other proposals, according to aides familiar with the speech, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Martin/Gledhill, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/4).
In addition, Tom Campbell, the state's director of finance, said the administration has been working on budget reform proposals that it will submit to the Legislature. According to the AP/Bakersfield Californian, one of the administration's proposals would alter formulas used to calculate funding for state programs, including health-related programs (Chorneau, AP/Bakersfield Californian, 1/3).
According to the Chronicle, Schwarzenegger is expected to call for a special legislative session "to push his plans while he lays the groundwork for a possible fall election" if his proposals are blocked. The Chronicle reports that Democrats "appear ready to challenge the governor" and "will push their agenda ... either through legislation or the ballot."
Margita Thompson, spokesperson for the governor, said Schwarzenegger's speech will "be about fundamental reform," adding, "It's a continuation of the mandate of the recall, which was to make government more responsive to the people" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/4).
Republican consultant Allan Hoffenblum said he believes Schwarzenegger's speech will define his agenda, adding, "This is about the road to 2006 and beyond -- not just getting an on-time budget this year or the litany of programs he's going to propose. This is going to be about substantive changes" (AP/Bakersfield Californian, 1/4).
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) said, "I don't see the voters in the state jumping up and down saying we need a special session to restructure government, nor do I see them doing that for redistricting. A special session should deal with issues of great importance to the state of California where this is a crisis, such as health care."
Gale Kaufmann, political consultant for the Assembly Democrats, said that "there is little to frighten [Democrats] with -- the election proved our ideas are popular" (San Francisco Chronicle, 1/4).