Schwarzenegger's Former Budget Director Takes on Big Money in Calif. Governor's Race

Schwarzenegger protege short on cash but long on ideas.

ByABC News
April 20, 2009, 11:14 PM

April 21, 2009 -- Is it possible to embrace a temporary tax increase and survive a Republican primary for governor of California?

Tom Campbell, a former congressman and state senator who served as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's budget director, intends to find out.

"My hope is that we can return to pragmatic, effective, good governance," Campbell told ABC News as part of the "Candidate Corner" series. "Trust us to make the state run well and in that process recognize that compromise is needed as part of the democratic process, a small-'d' democratic process."

The temporary tax hike embraced by underdog candidate Campbell is contained in Proposition 1A, a measure on the state's May 19 ballot that would bolster the state's "rainy-day fund" and limit spending in good fiscal years while temporarily raising taxes.

Prop. 1A is being championed by the term-limited Schwarzenegger and the state's Assembly Republican leader but it has been opposed by Campbell's two Republican rivals for governor: former eBay chief Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Poizner and Campbell appeared recently before the California Republican Party's executive committee to debate the ballot measure. The state GOP leaders sided with Poizner and voted to oppose all six measures on next month's special election ballot.

Proposition 1A is anathema to a sizable chunk of the Republican Party.

"Campbell came out for this tax increase, that's goofy," Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, told ABC News.

While Campbell is not surprised that Proposition 1A has been opposed by many anti-tax activists, he believes the measure is misunderstood and that it represents a worthwhile "trade-off."