Bipartisan Ads Propose Balanced Budget

SAN FRANCISCO Broadcast spots featuring Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and state controller Steve Westly that launched Tuesday are part of a heavy flight of advertising expected prior to the California elections.

The Californians for a Balanced Budget’s “Yes on 57 and 58” TV and radio campaign is airing statewide to promote the two propositions on the March ballot. Donald Sipple, a Republican strategist who has also developed ads for the former and current President George Bush, Bob Dole and ex-California Gov. Pete Wilson, produced the campaign.

The budget coalition’s spokesman, Todd Harris, would not detail campaign spending, but called it “a fairly significant buy on broadcast all across the state.”

In the spots, the two politicians, one Republican, one Democrat, speak in tandem and finish each other’s sentences. The ads open with:

Schwarzenegger: “For the first time in a long time, Republicans and Democrats . . . “

Westly: ” . . . are working together in Sacramento to solve California’s problems.”

The two go on to tout the benefits of Prop. 57, a onetime $15 billion Economic Recovery Bond, by saying it will refinance the deficit with low-interest payments.

They promote Prop. 58, which would mandate an annually balanced budget, with Schwarzenegger saying: “Prop. 58 requires a balanced budget every year without borrowing, so that we never get into this mess again.”

The effort signals the start of a wave of political ads that will run prior to upcoming elections, according to Jack Kyser, chief economist of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. [Adweek Online, Feb. 10]. Kyser said the work is expected to buoy the California advertising and production communities.

Californians for a Balanced Budget is a bipartisan coalition of Sacramento politicians, city chambers of commerce, taxpayers associations, and law enforcement and labor unions.