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Schwarzenegger Faces Budget Crisis, Partisan Anger

Schwarzenegger will likely take office in mid-November if the results of Tuesday’s recall election are certified within the timetable spelled out by state law.

Under California law, county election officials have up to 35 days to send official results to the secretary of state’s office, which in turn has four days to process the county totals and certify an official winner. The winner of the election must then be sworn in.

Schwarzenegger backers, like Ted Costa, who was also one of the primary supporters of the recall effort, have argued that the film star should take over for Davis as soon as possible.

“What corporation in the country would fire their CEO and then let him sit around for a month to spend money, hire people or make decisions?” Costa asked, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Once in office, Schwarzenegger will serve the remainder of Davis’ term, which ends in January 2007. Under California’s term limit law, Schwarzenegger could serve only one other term as governor.

It is not yet clear whether Davis’ recall opponents will launch a legal challenge to the election results or mount a recall campaign aimed at unseating Schwarzenegger. Under California’s recall law, a new recall process could start as soon as the new governor takes office.

Political observers have said that Schwarzenegger must start work immediately on a new state budget, which must be submitted to the legislature in January. Schwarzenegger will reportedly face an estimated $8 billion deficit. He has pledged to cut both spending and taxes. Democratic state treasurer Phil Angelides expressed skepticism at Schwarzenegger’s statements.

“He has been less than truthful with the people of California about what it’s going to take to restore fiscal integrity and get the economy going,” Angelides said, according to the Associated Press. “I’m going to fight for what I think is right for rebuilding this economy. I will give no quarter in that respect.”

The new governor must appoint 150 new executives to run the state government or retain some of those already in place. Schwarzenegger must also establish a working relationship with the Democratic legislature.

“I think it would be smart of Schwarzenegger to move slowly,” Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, told the Chronicle. “His inclination is to be inclusive. That would make sense, coming in as a minority governor.”

Schwarzenegger is expected to announce the head of his transition team later on Wednesday and immediately begin assembling key staff members.

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