Michael Hiltzik’s recent column dumps cold water on Governor Schwarzenegger’s administration primarily because the Governor properly refused to raise property taxes. The reality is that in the midst of immense challenges, Governor Schwarzenegger achieved good things. One of those was reforming California’s broken workers compensation system. For Hiltzik to say that Arnold’s historic reforms did not go far enough is like saying the San Francisco Giants won the World Series but they could have done better. I have worked with several previous Governors on workers comp reform and none came close to what Schwarzenegger was able to achieve.
In addition, Hiltzik makes no reference to accomplishments in the area of political reform. Arnold was instrumental in changing the very face of the political process through fair reapportionment and the open primary. This will impact California favorably, forever.
Finally, Hiltzik fails to give credit for the Governor’s efforts to create certainty for businesses and our economy. Arnold understood that the private sector is critical to a recovered economy and he was committed to vetoing job killing legislation. Understanding the value of international trade, he selflessly used his worldwide popularity to sell California grown products, movies, technology, and our tourist attractions to the world. International trade has become one of the few bright spots in California’s economy.