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Governor releases TV ad vowing to veto taxes and excess spending

The ad follows a weekend of productive closed-door talks among top legislators and Schwarzenegger to address the $26-billion budget gap.

July 14, 2009|Shane Goldmacher

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger went on the offensive Monday in the stalled state finance talks, releasing a television ad in which he vows to oppose any budget that raises taxes or "spends money we do not have."

The governor's commercial comes at an awkward moment in negotiations over the state's projected $26.3-billion budget gap, as all sides described a weekend of closed-door talks among top lawmakers and Schwarzenegger as productive. Negotiations are set to continue today.

The spot is the second political commercial released during the current budget standoff. The 300,000-member California Teachers Assn. began airing one last week criticizing the governor for proposing to suspend Proposition 98, the voter-approved funding guarantee for schools.

State leaders said they have yet to tackle the sticky political question of education funding in their negotiations.

"The elephant in the room is Prop. 98," Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) said in an interview.

Also in the ad, Schwarzenegger says three times that he opposes higher taxes. But Democratic lawmakers, who earlier pressed for tax hikes to help close the budget gap, have abandoned that effort.

Meanwhile, the Schwarzenegger administration notified state agencies Monday to prepare for the possibility of cutting the state payroll by 7,000 jobs -- 2,000 more than previously proposed.

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shane.goldmacher@latimes.com

Times staff writer Patrick McGreevy contributed to this report.

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