The Obama administration is considering a financial bailout for troubled state governments. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes that translates into $26 billion for public works projects in California.

Meanwhile, state government has mismanaged itself to the brink of bankruptcy.

So, here’s the question: Would you trust the state government to manage this federal bailout money? At the very least, Washington must insist that the money will not be used to cover-up Sacramento’s past mistakes.

BTW, the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle report today that Moody’s Investors Service is threatening to lower the state’s credit rating. That would make California last among the 50 states as a lending risk. For now, we’re tied with Louisiana for 49th.

One result: For decades to come, the state will pay higher interest rates than the other states, which means it will have less money to spend on education, transportation, health care and all the things that matter to the state’s well-being.