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Schwarzenegger says he'll repeal car tax

California governor-elect says no more movies for now

"There will be no time for movies," Schwarzenegger said of his upcoming term as California governor.

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California Recall
Arnold Schwarzenegger
David Dreier

LOS ANGELES, California (CNN) -- Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger says his first action upon taking office will be repealing the car tax, one of the factors in Gray Davis' demise as California's leader.

Schwarzenegger, speaking Wednesday at his first news conference since sweeping to victory in Tuesday's recall election, also promised not to hike taxes. "I campaigned that I will not raise taxes and I say this again: I will not raise taxes," Schwarzenegger said.

The actor-turned-politician also said his movie career will be on hold while he serves as California governor.

"The people of California want me to be the governor, and I will do that and nothing else," Schwarzenegger said. "I will work as much as I can, even if it is around the clock."

"There will be no time for movies or anything else. I will pay full attention to this job. I take this job very seriously."

While he will continue to take an interest in his bodybuilding and other business ventures, he will put all proceeds from them in a blind trust, he said.

Transition team coming Thursday

Schwarzenegger, 56, said he will work from the governor's office in Sacramento but added he has not decided whether he would live in the capital.

He also said he would travel throughout the state to learn what needs to be done.

"The people of California have voted against the system that is existing right now, they want a new direction," Schwarzenegger said. "The legislators up there have gotten that message last night that the people of California want change."

While providing no more detail than he did during the campaign, the governor-elect said he would revamp the state's economy, bring back jobs, improve education and clean up the environment.

He promised to work with Indian gaming tribes "so we can get additional funds" and to have outside auditors look into the state's books, and share that report with the public.

Schwarzenegger also said that members of his full transition team will be announced Thursday.

U.S. Rep. David Dreier, named head of the transition team earlier in the day, will announce the lineup.

Schwarzenegger said he will order a complete audit of California's budget to "go line-by-line" looking for waste.

"We don't really know what the current operating deficit it is," Schwarzenegger said. He explained that estimates of the budget's deficit have ranged during the campaign from $6 billion to $10 billion.

He said he learned Wednesday morning that if a pending lawsuit regarding a bond issue is decided negatively, the operating deficit could be as high as $20 billion.

Schwarzenegger again thanked the voters for electing him and repeated his election-night pledge not to let them down.

He also thanked the news media for their role in his quest for the statehouse.

"Please do me a favor: Stay with me the next three years, OK? Because you are absolutely essential for me to get my message out there," he said. "I really appreciate your being part of my campaign."

A return visit to 'The Tonight Show'

As to how his family will deal with the new reality, Schwarzenegger said some members are adjusting more quickly than others.

"My daughter brought me coffee this morning to bed, she woke me up in bed, saying, she whispered, 'Mister Governor, your coffee is ready,'" Schwarzenegger laughed.

But his son had told him previously that he hoped his father lost the race, Schwarzenegger recounted -- "So we can have our daddy back."

Schwarzenegger jokes with
Schwarzenegger jokes with "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno on Wednesday evening.

The governor-elect had time Wednesday for a brief visit to the "Tonight Show" with Jay Leno, where Schwarzenegger first announced his candidacy two months ago.

He gave Leno a dose of his own comedic medicine, asking Leno if he was bored during the governor-elect's acceptance speech Tuesday night.

Leno, who presented Schwarzenegger as California's new governor, insisted he was not bored -- until a video clip showed the TV host checking his watch during the speech.

"I will remember that," Schwarzenegger said, jokingly. "I am going to check right away your tax returns."

A formidable task ahead

Schwarzenegger, an Austria-born bodybuilder who came to this country and made a fortune in the movies, will take office sometime in mid- to late November, once election results are certified. (Austrians cheer on their man; Biography: Arnold Schwarzenegger)

He faces a formidable task: Bringing California's fiscal house in order, working with a Democratic-controlled Legislature and healing political wounds incurred in the intense, two-month recall campaign. California is the nation's most populous state and its economy ranks among the top 10 in the world. (Politicians' reactions; Gallery: Reactions to the results)

California voters, angry over a lackluster economy and disenchanted with Davis' leadership style, cut short his second term, recalling him less than a year after his re-election.

"The people did decide it is time for someone else to serve, and I accept their judgment," Davis said in a concession speech Tuesday night. (Full story; Transcript)

With 100 percent of the state's precincts reporting, voters approved the recall of Davis 55 percent to 45 percent, and Schwarzenegger, a Republican, led his nearest challenger, Democratic Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamanate, by more than 1 million votes. Conservative GOP state Sen. Tom McClintock was a distant third.(Results; Interactive: Voter turnout in California)

Schwarzenegger's victory was much more decisive than many political observers had predicted and there were no reports of widespread ballot confusion or problems, as some had feared.

And, despite some pre-election statements, there was no indication Wednesday of any move afoot to challenge the recall in court. (On the Scene: Bob Franken)

Schwarzenegger listed a number of people who called him Wednesday to congratulate him, including Nelson Mandela, George H. W. Bush and his son, President George W. Bush.

President Bush is scheduled to raise money for his own re-election campaign in California next week, and other White House aides said it is all but certain the two men will meet during that trip.

The recall campaign ended with something of a Hollywood finish. (Gallery: Celebrities who have gone into politics)

Schwarzenegger will assume office within 10 days of the official vote certification, which must be completed by November 15, according to the state elections code. The outcome gives the GOP control of the country's four most-populous states heading into the 2004 presidential election. (Interactive: What happens next?)

Bustamante will remain in office as California's lieutenant governor under Schwarzenegger.


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