New Governors Face States' Troubles on Day 1

SAN FRANCISCO - Raising their right hands may be the only easy part of the job for the newly elected governors taking office this week, CBS News Correspondent John Blackstone reports.

(Scroll down to watch a video of this report)

In California, Jerry Brown took over a state facing a $28 billion budget deficit and an unemployment rate of more than 12 percent.

"No more smoke and mirrors on the budget," Brown said in his inaugural address. "No empty promises."

Schwarzenegger Leaves Challenges for Gov. Brown

Brown's no-frills inaugural ceremony featured a high school choir and hot dogs.

In Nevada, a state always calculating the odds, the new governor is Republican Brian Sandoval. His state has the nation's highest jobless rate at 14.4 percent.

"We live in a time when the odds seem to be against us," Sandoval said.

In New York, Andrew Cuomo became governor of a state with a $10 billion deficit, and he came in asking for a pay freeze for all state employees.

"My gray hairs are multiplying just thinking about what we have to do," Cuomo said.

NY's Cuomo Turns to Fiscal Plan, Tax Cap

Across the country, what governors are likely to have to do is cut spending.

It's one reason that in the 37 states that elected governors in the last election, 23 went to Republicans and only 14 to Democrats. But on Inauguration Day at least, no matter their party the governors sound pretty much the same.

"If you have to sum up the message that just about every governor is telling constituents it's this: This is going to hurt," said political science professor Jack Pitney of Claremont McKenna College in Claremont, Calif.

If there is any good news for the new governors, it's this: State tax revenues have climbed from $1.27 trillion in the first quarter of 2009 to $1.33 trillion in the last quarter of 2010, an increase of $61 billion, a sign of an improving economy.

In spite of the tough job ahead, the governors proclaim enthusiasm for the challenge.

"I take my oath proudly optimistic," Sandoval said.

"California, here I come, right back where I started from," Brown said.

Indeed, Brown was first elected California governor in 1975. His predecessor was a movie star, Ronald Reagan. This time, Brown follows another movie star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who posted his own Twitter video as he left the tough job of governor behind.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Next Act

  • John Blackstone

    From his base in San Francisco, CBS News correspondent John Blackstone covers breaking stories throughout the West. That often means he is on the scene of wildfires, earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and rumbling volcanoes. He also reports on the high-tech industry in Silicon Valley and on social and economic trends that frequently begin in the West.