Schwarzenegger facing criticism over Asia trip

September 7, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Some people around Sacramento and beyond are not very happy with the governor's upcoming trade mission. He's leaving for Asia in a few days, even though the state is running out of money and about to issue IOUs again.

The state is now more than two months into the fiscal year and a budget agreement is not in sight. However, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is still leaving Thursday for a six-day trade mission to Asia to promote trade and California goods and points out he can come home early if necessary.

"This is all about creating jobs. It's about jobs, jobs, jobs, stimulating the economy and just because the Legislature has failed to do their work, doesn't mean my office, the Governor's office, should fail at my work," says Schwarzenegger.

The leaders of both houses met with the governor on Tuesday behind closed doors and they repeated they're making progress. They don't believe the governor's absence will hinder negotiations at all.

"We live in the modern times. If the governor is here or there, we can engage in important conversations," says Assm. Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

Because no money can be appropriated during a budget impasse, many state services are on hold. Critics say the governor should be here to make sure lawmakers come to an agreement so services can continue.

Freshman Elisa Sanales is upset because like thousands of college students, she needs a state budget approved as soon as possible so the school can release her Cal Grant financial aid.

"I really was counting on all that money, for like gas, tuition and for my books," says Sanales.

"I'm one of those ones that's on edge," says Michaelin Higgins.

Higgins has two kids who were kicked out of day care once the state stopped paying. She's disappointed the governor is leaving with the budget still in limbo.

"My mother who's been helping me tremendously with my children, she's leaving the country. I'm getting ready to lose the one person who's been helping me through this," says Higgins. "If he doesn't get a budget soon, I am going to lose my job. I just live here. I look up to you to take care of us, and you're really letting California down."

Supporters of the trade mission point out California exported $27 billion worth of goods last year to the three countries the governor is visiting -- Japan, China and South Korea.

The governor is confident more deals can be signed while he's there.

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