On the heels of negotiating the California budget crisis, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, R-Calif., made no apologies this morning for going against his campaign promise not to raise taxes.
"I made it very clear that I'm against raising taxes, and even today I hate tax increases," Schwarzenegger told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in a "This Week" interview.
"I also made it very clear that I will never sign a pledge that I will not raise taxes. Why? Because I said, if there's an emergency, I want to have the options to raise taxes if there's an emergency. Right now, you have to admit, we have a fiscal emergency."
Schwarzenegger was unequivocal that he would not raise taxes in his 2003 recall campaign against former Governor Gray Davis. But Schwarzenegger told Stephanopoulos that it was "absolutely not" wrong to make that promise. Pushed further and asked if he should apologize to Davis, the governor reiterated "no, absolutely not."
"There's quite a difference, because remember one thing: When the last time they had the crisis in 2003, nothing was accomplished. Now we have this crisis, we got the legislators together, the Democrats and the Republicans."
The governor went on to explain that "you do the kind of things that are right for the people, that are right for the state, rather than what is right for your party. It was not right for my party. The Republicans, the party itself hates it, even though I had other Republicans vote right along on that budget."
Asked if the Republican party should re-think its absolute opposition to tax increases, Schwarzenegger said, "I think that the Republican Party or any party has to always think, then you make a decision, 'Do I want to make a decision that's...best for the party? Or am I a public servant and have to serve the people, what is best for the people?' And in this particular case, in order to solve a $42 billion deficit, the only way you can do that is a combination of making severe cuts and also having some revenue increases."
To solve the $42 billion deficit the Governor brokered a deal based on severe cuts and revenue increases. Overall the governor said that it "could take years from now to get back to where we were."
Schwarzenegger also stands at odds with many in the Republican party for his support of President Obama's stimulus package. Several Republican governors have said they do not want to take the money, including Gov. Mark Sanford, R-S.C., chair of the Republican Governors Association. Schwarzenegger, however, said he would be happy to take any state aid that they turn down, a position that has raised eyebrows with many of his colleagues.
"Governor Sanford says that he does not want to take the money, the federal stimulus package money. And I want to say to him: 'I'll take it.' I'm more than happy to take his money or any other governor in this country that doesn't want to take this money, I take it, because we in California need it," Schwarzenegger said.