Schwarzenegger Makes No Apology for Reversal on Tax Increases

Gov: "I want to have the options to raise taxes if there's an emergency."

ByABC News
February 22, 2009, 12:27 PM

Feb. 22, 2009 — -- 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' 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."

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