ELEVENTH IN LINE
About This Blog
A blog about my life, universe, etc. At any given time you might find something endlessly interesting or just me ruminating on something else, which no one (not even myself) finds interesting. That's the way blogs go, I suppose. Anyway, I was eleventh in line, and you weren't. Hah!
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Ohio State University
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My mom is a lawyer in Pickerington; my stepdad and dad are computer guys, and my stepmom (who works with my dad) is an engineer. My sisters are, in order of age, a photographer, an artist, and a person too young to have her own website. My brothers are, in order of age, living up north, and again, a person too young to have a website. At some point soon I'll be collecting links for my aunts, uncle, and cousins. ^_^
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Thursday, September 18, 2003
I MAY NOT BE RUNNING, BUT THIS IS STILL FUN... Daniel Weintraub has posted the 12 questions for the gubernatorial candidates who will be attending the debate on September 24th (the California Broadcasters' Association is sponsoring the affair, Schwarzenegger says he'll be there.) Now, I'm no gubernatorial candidate (I need three more years of residency -- and, coincidentally enough, need to be three years older than I am now! -- in order to run), but I figure, why not answer the questions myself? Now, mind, I get to answer these from the perspective of a 22-year-old who doesn't want to run for election, and I get to be snarkier, sillier, more idealistic, less realistic, and more honest about how I see things than any of the candidates (yes, even Angelyne). So, here we go.
How would you propose enhancing revenue and/or what specific cuts would you propose to achieve a balanced budget?
I would like to see a decrease in the basic administrative fees and state-mandated costs required to start and maintain a business in this state. Without sales (and possibly income) tax revenues (which we've been losing as businesses leave, choose not to expand, or aren't even begun in the first place), our budget cannot possibly be supported. I would also recommend reductions in pay to state-level elected officials (including the governor), and a reduced legislative session. Which, of course, would have the additional benefit of preventing the legislature from enacting more spending bills.
Leaders in the business community are convinced that this state is losing jobs and unable to attract new businesses. If you agree, what are two things you would change to make this a more business-friendly state? If you disagree, what are the misconceptions you would like to correct?
Well, as you could probably guess from how I answered the last question, I do agree with that proposition. The simple fact is that our regulatory enviornment is incredibly un-welcoming to businesses, and that efforts to expand are penalized (for example, if you have more than X number of employees, your costs go up by far more than they should, because now you have to provide them with so many additional amenities). Even Proposition 13, which held property taxes at their last assessment value, forces reassessment whenever a property is bought or sold, thus providing a disincentive to those who would like to, for example, increase the size or improve the location of a business. Frankly, it makes better business sense to stay stagnant, shrink, or simply move away. As to two specific solutions, I'd like to see a moratorium on new legislation targeted at businesses of all sizes, and a complete overhaul of the worker's comp system in the state.
How are you going to insure that all Californians have adequate healthcare?
I don't believe that it is the job of the state (either in the "state of California" sense or the "government" sense) to ensure that kind of thing. I'd like to see a lot less regulation of the industry, and I'd like us to get out of the business of providing sub-par health care to the poor. Speaking as a person with no health insurance who has seen government involvement disrupt everything from education to electricity, I can't see how more government intervention would make this better.
Everybody talks about wanting a colorblind society but what does that actually mean to you? In other words, how do we know when we have succeeded?
Presumably, when no one feels the need to ask what my exact racial background is. A good benchmark would be when the government stopped asking -- and yes, I support Proposition 54.
What should be the top priority for California right now?
Well, once we've cleared out the governor's mansion, Californians should get back to the business of living their lives, and the government should get into the business of reducing its own role in their lives. A comprehensive look at state expenditures, and an elimination of those which are redundant, irrelevant, or otherwise inappropriate for a state to be spending (especially given our budget crisis) would be high on the list.
If elected Governor, will you support the expansion of charter schools in California?
Yes, along with a relaxation of interference in private alternatives to public schooling (private schools, home education, etc.), and the introduction of voucher programs with minimal supervision. We've proven, I think, that a lot of supervision has only made things worse -- trying minimal supervision seems to be the next option on the list.
What do you expect to accomplish in the time remaining on Gray Davis’ term that he could not?
Choosing not to sign bills into legislation which serve no real purpose appropriate for state involvement, making the electorate and the 49 other state governors aware that California can be run competently, and shutting George Will up about how we're the sick man of the republic.
What is the single most important piece of legislation either signed or vetoed during this past legislative session?
Part of me wants to say the license bill for illegal immigrants, but in the end I think that the car registration tax is more significant, simply because its negative impact on citizens of this state is more than just ghostly fears of misuse and terrorism -- to tax and then spend is one thing, but to spend and then announce you have to tax to cover the expenditure is much worse. And as I am not in favor of progressive or punitive taxation, the fact that this will lead to more bus usage and fewer classic cars bought by Jay Leno seems to be not only pointless but in fact, bad for California. I say encourage Jay Leno to buy a thousand vintage cars, employ dozens of contrators to build a garage, and a few full-time mechanics and experts to maintain the fleet. Not to mention, the cost of convincing a million Jane and Joe Smiths to keep their gas-guzzling, smog-spewing, falling-apart-at-the-seams junkmobiles for another few years is going to far exceed whatever revenues can be acquired thanks to those who just can't help but buy a brand new car. And I'd rather not have to hire game theorists and statisticians to let me know at what point taxes will be so high that we'll need to bring in Mexican citizens by the busfull just to keep our population steady.
Do you support reducing the Vehicle License Fee (car tax), and if so, where would you find the revenue to replace the loss to the budget?
I support returning it to its previous level, and possibly lowering it from there. If there aren't enough revenues to be found in reducing the pay for state-level employees and the legislature, reducing the amount of time the legislature is in session, etc., then I will recommend making gambling legal throughout the state, authorizing the sale, concealed carriage, and taxation of all firearms not made illegal under federal law, and real investment (i.e. the buying of stock) in start-ups and expansion firms. There's a lot one can learn from Nevada and New Mexico.
What services will your Administration expect local governments to provide and what stable source of revenue will you give them to do it?
I would expect them to provide the services their citizens choose to demand and pay for. It's not the business of the state to dictate unfunded mandates to localities, nor is it our business to give them money to do our bidding. If the state absolutely, positively, has to have something done, it ought to pay localities for the costs incurred to them (in other words, if there's a CalWorks office in Anaheim, it had better be paying taxes to the local and county governments), and be apologetic about the interference.
Under Governors Pat Brown and Ronald Reagan, California spent up to 20% of its General Fund on Infrastructure - such as roads, bridges, colleges, hospitals and water systems. Now we spend closer to 1%. Proposition 53 on the ballot raises that figure to 3%. What are your positions on Prop. 53 and what will you do to invest more in California's aging infrastructure?
Privatization of services the state doesn't need to be involved in, less regulation over the construction industry, fee-for-service arrangements in selected state businesses, and a reduction in the involvement the state has in things which don't help it sustain itself. More programs like premium fast lanes, which allow those who are willing to sustain the costs of convenience help subsidize those who can't or who are willing to live without convenience. Yes, priority service at the DMV, if that's what it takes. I oppose Proposition 53, simply because I can't see any way to prevent things like that leading to 5% here, 10% there, and oh gosh, it turns out we can't actually pay for fire fighters because we're mandated to protect the otters. Better to convince the electorate to vote for sensible, responsible legislators, even though I realize that's not very likely to work.
As our population continues to age, the demand for government services to seniors will increase dramatically during the next decade. What do you intend to do to proactively manage this demand?
Privatization and deregulation of the health insurance industry will go a long way. We have to be prepared to adjust for changing spending and lifestyle habits, as well as accept that our school and work-age populations will be decreasing in proportion to the retirement-age population (though perhaps immigrant population patterns will keep that from being too big of a deal). Making the state more reliant on sales taxes (as opposed to income and property taxes), improving public transportation infrastructures (possibly by encouraging private investment), and adapting current infrastructure (like schools, which may be underused in some areas) to transition to future needs, would all help.
NOTE: Well, there you have it. Like I said, maybe not the most realistic. Probably 90% of what I believe in, the general public won't accept. Maybe 50% won't even work. But it would be so cool to have a candidate articulate even a few of the general themes that I tried to put forth up there. My realistic streak (the one that comes in and says "you're NEVER going to run for elected office, Sarah, and you know you'll vote for Schwarzenegger unless there's incredibly major changes in the next few weeks") knows that my candidate won't say much, if any, of it. But a girl can dream, right?
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Because only so many people can be eleventh in line.