SACRAMENTO — Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said Tuesday that he is placing no limits on the personal wealth he will contribute toward his Nov. 8 special election to revamp government and acknowledged his measures zap Democrats, though unintentionally.

In a small round-table interview with reporters, Schwarzenegger also said that a tax hike would eventually be inevitable if his proposed spending-limit initiative fails — but he said he is confident the unpopular measure and others ultimately will be approved by voters in November.

In response to a question about how many millions of dollars he is prepared to contribute to his side of the special election fight, which is lagging behind organized-labor foes in fund raising, the governor said he would put no cap on his donations.

"I am so committed to this reform that I will do anything in order to make sure we win. Whatever it takes," Schwarzenegger said. "I don't say tens of millions, or millions, or anything. I just tell you I will do whatever it takes, because to me it is an investment in California."

Asked if the four initiatives he's backing"are aimed at zapping Democrats," the governor said, "Well, it happens to have an effect like that."

"But my intention is that we have accountability and responsibility to the people of California," Schwarzenegger said. "They are paying their taxes, and they are, right now, not getting their money's worth."

Schwarzenegger-backed measures would curb spending, potentially hurting education; make it harder for teachers to get job-security tenure; take the job of drawing political boundaries from the Democrat-dominated Legislature and give it to retired judges; and require public employee unions to get permission from individual members before spending their dues for political purposes.

Schwarzenegger denied accusations by foes that he has veered to the right after being elected as a bipartisan governor in an unprecedented 2003 recall election, dismissing the claims as "scare tactics" by his opponents.

"I'm in the center," the governor said.

If his spending-limit measure fails, Schwarzenegger said, a tax hike would eventually be inevitable, though he will not propose one.

"I want to warn people: Let's not go there," the governor said.

The comments came in a daylong series of interviews with newspaper reporters, his first since March 2004.

Schwarzenegger said he is not worried about his special election measures failing, saying he is just starting now to campaign for them and noting that in the past he has started behind in the polls on ballot measures and caught up by Election Day.

For example, last year he came out against Proposition 66, a measure to weaken the state's three-strikes law, and his last-minute campaigning helped defeat the measure, which had been ahead in polls before he stepped forward.

He said he has not thought at all about the possibility of his government-revamp measures failing.

"There's no such thought," Schwarzenegger said. "It doesn't exist.

"I don't think that way. I can think about that on Nov. 9. But I mean I don't have to think about it now. There is no backup because there's only one thing — we move forward. My plan is to win all of those initiatives.

"I know that if we educate the people, they'll know what the truth is, not what the fiction is that is out there right now and the hype and all of those things. We know when you tell them the truth, they're with us."

In other comments, Schwarzenegger, who recently endorsed the ballot measure to restrict unions' ability to spend members' dues on political activities, also said he would consider supporting a similar measure that would apply to corporations spending shareholder money on political contributions.

In addition, the governor said that while he plans to veto a measure to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, he still could support the concept if a bill is presented that addresses his security concerns.

Schwarzenegger is planning to veto a bill, SB60, that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain California driver's licenses. He said he still wants to find a way to do effective background checks on those from other countries who apply for the licenses.

"They're driving right now," he said. "So we have to find a way of how do we make it legal for them to drive. And how do we do it the right way?"

Staff writer Harrison Sheppard contributed to this report. Contact Sacramento Bureau Chief Steve Geissinger at sgeissinger@angnewspapers.com.