Schwarzenegger Unveils $222B State Infrastructure Plan, Addresses Reimportation in State of the State Address
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Thursday in his State of the State address unveiled a $222.6 billion public-works spending plan, including some funding for health-related programs, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The plan would be funded in part by $68 billion in bond issues, which would be put on ballots in successive elections through 2014 (Marelius, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/6). A $25 billion bond measure would be placed on this year's June or November statewide ballot.
Schwarzenegger also plans to propose a constitutional amendment that would place a 6% cap on the ratio of bond debt to the state budget to prevent excessive debt.
The money primarily would be used to build new schools, freeways, levees, courts and prisons.
Under the proposal, University of California schools would receive $400 million for telemedicine education programs. An additional $400 million would be used, in part, to resolve public health and safety issues at state parks (Sheppard/Geissinger, Los Angeles Daily News, 1/6).
Some of the money also would be used to improve mental hospitals in the state (Salladay, Los Angeles Times, 1/6). In addition, the bond issues would fund the construction of two new prisons, including emergency response facilities (San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/6). The plan did not specify funds to be used to help hospitals comply with state seismic safety rules, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Folmar et al., San Jose Mercury News, 1/6).
Schwarzenegger also called on Congress to allow states to reimport prescription drugs from Canada and other countries.
However, some Democrats criticized the governor's stance on reimportation, saying he is not doing enough to support access to lower-cost drugs from abroad (Los Angeles Daily News, 1/6).
Analysts on Thursday predicted that Schwarzenegger's bond plan likely will succeed, but the actual amount of bonds will be lower than proposed, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
According to analysts, fiscal conservatives in the Legislature likely will oppose taking on more debt, while Democrats likely will push for a tax increase to repay the bonds. Some analysts called the plan "overly ambitious" and said it probably will not make the ballot without "substantial changes," the Press-Enterprise reports (DeArmond, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/6).
Several other newspapers also published articles about the State of the State address:
- "Governor's Move to Middle Hinders Rivals" (Finnegan, Los Angeles Times, 1/6).
- "Schwarzenegger Unveils Decade-Long Rebuilding Plan" (Sarhaddi Nelson, Orange County Register, 1/5).
- "A Blueprint for Growth" (Miller, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/6).
- "Governor Pushes Building Boom" (Delsohn, Sacramento Bee, 1/6).
- "$222 Billion Plan: Governor Offers Wide-Ranging Program To Repair Crumbling Infrastructure" (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/6).
- "Schwarzenegger Asks $222 Billion Be Financed in the Next Decade" (Herdt, Ventura County Star, 1/6).
- "Schwarzenegger Seeks Huge Spending Increase" (Pomfret/Geis, Washington Post, 1/6).