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Arnold drops by SF on lobbying trip, talks up DOA bondage

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  • 3/29 SF Examiner
    Published Wednesday, March 29, 2006, in the San Francisco Examiner Governor: Economy s better, please pass the bond By Marisa Lagos SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov.
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 30, 2006
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      Published Wednesday, March 29, 2006, in the San Francisco Examiner

      Governor: Economy's better, please pass the bond

      By Marisa Lagos

      SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger swooped into The City on
      Tuesday to tout the state's recent economic improvements and sell Bay
      Area business leaders on a multibillion-dollar infrastructure bond he
      has made the centerpiece of his administration.

      At the last-minute event organized by the Bay Area Economic Forum, the
      governor and two of his Cabinet members stressed the upturn in
      California's economy since Schwarzenegger took office in November
      2003. The governor, who was met with warm applause, particularly
      focused on job growth and shrinking unemployment rates, which he said
      fell by 1.8 percent during the same period.

      By contrast, according to Schwarzenegger's office, unemployment in the
      San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City region fell by about 1.4 percent
      from 2004 to 2005, and about 13,400 new jobs were created.

      Several local business leaders at the event said San Francisco has not
      kept pace with the economic upswing seen statewide, and warned that
      Schwarzenegger's proposed infrastructure initiative ignores some of
      the Bay Area's most pressing issues: the seismic retrofit of
      hospitals, improvements to public transit and the need for more
      affordable housing.

      "There are parts of the Bay Area that need road improvements, but
      high-speed rail, BART and intra-city transit also need improvement,"
      said Jim Lazarus of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, adding that
      San Francisco's job market has not bounced back as fast as
      California's overall. "Obviously the job market imploded in 2000 to
      2001, after the dot-com boom and [the terror attacks of Sept. 11,
      2001]. We are climbing out of that hole, but not as fast as the rest
      of the state."

      The governor also stressed a 70 percent decrease in the state's
      structural deficit since 2003, and said his workers' compensation
      reforms are part of the reason for the economic upswing.

      "In 2003 we had big challenges in front of us. The most important
      thing was to bring the economy back -- we had to recover, reform and
      rebuild California," he said.

      Schwarzenegger also tried to shore up support for about $68 billion in
      general obligation bonds he says are needed in the next decade for
      California's roads, highways, levees and buildings. The governor is
      currently in negotiations with state legislators to get a bond measure
      on the November ballot.

      "Of course the critics say it is too expensive, but we have to teach
      them the difference between spending and investing in our future," he
      said.
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