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Posts Tagged ‘split roll’



Calbuzz Interview: How Poizner Courts Conservatives

Tuesday, September 8th, 2009

stevepoiznerSteve Poizner faces two key challenges in seeking the Republican nomination for governor: appeasing the GOP’s social conservative mullahs while convincing its anti-government jihadists his economic views fit more with their absolutist ideology than Meg Whitman’s.

An erstwhile Silicon Valley moderate, Poizner now positions himself as an Arthur Laffer-like disciple of economic growth through tax cuts and roll-backs in regulation, while finessing his pro-choice stance on abortion for the pro-life, cultural right-wing of his party.

The 52-year old Insurance Commissioner also has joined the crusade for a part-time legislature, a move that recalls how former Gov. Pete Wilson assuaged conservatives with his embrace of term limits in the 1990 gubernatorial race. All the while, Poizner keeps pounding chief rival Whitman, portraying her as a Schwarzenegger-like, neophyte squish whose vow  to run government like a business is no match for the Democrat-dominated Legislature.

“This is going to come down between Meg Whitman and me,” Poizner told Calbuzz in a sit-down interview, “(Voters) don’t want a career politician for sure, but they also don’t want a rookie, and I really do think that voters understand that politics is different from running a company.

“Being in a board room, I can just tell you, is different. There’s no hiring, no firing, no stock options (in government). The tools are different,” he added. “Between Meg and me, only one of us…has a track record.”

poiznerinsurance

First exchange: For the first time, Poizner and Whitman in recent days have exchanged sharp fire in an effort to paint the other as too liberal to represent the hard-line conservatives who dominate the Republican primary electorate.

Whitman struck first, distributing a video of Poizner’s 2004 Assembly campaign, when he advocated early release of some state prisoners, in sharp contrast to the tough stance he has taken against such a policy in the governor’s race. At the same time, Steve Harmon of the Contra Costa Times reported how Poizner’s “past support of taxes could haunt him” in the primary, detailing his record of backing a measure that made it easier to raise taxes for schools, among other past fiscal positions anathema to the GOP right-wing.

The attacks exposed Poizner’s vulnerabilities among conservative voters, as John Wildermuth showed in an analysis called “Poizner apologizes for being a moderate.”

megonvanyoutubePoizner quickly countered Whitman’s attack with a You Tube video that sent the message his rival is a liberal, cultural elitist; it featured Whitman singing the praises of Van Jones, Obama’s green jobs guru. Jones resigned over the weekend under conservative pressure, following disclosures of portions of his leftist record that included diatribes against Republicans and claims that the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks.

“This is an epic battle,” Poizner said of his campaign. “This election will be the most important election in the country in 2010, maybe the most important gubernatorial race in California history, given the mess that we’re in.”

The interview: Cautious and wary, Poizner recently sat down with Calbuzz to talk about the race, his platform and the mess in California. Sitting in an outdoor cafe, he munched from a bag of potato chips after pushing away the nastiest-looking egg salad sandwich in the history of the world, which an aide had bought for him to eat during the late afternoon interview, after a day of campaigning.

“You had to get egg salad,” he said. “You think there’s anything more difficult I could possibly eat?

Here are some weed-whacking excerpts from the interview

ECONOMIC ISSUES

Taxes: “If you want to raise tax revenue the best way to do that is by reducing tax rates.”

“We are looking at broad-based, across-the-board tax decreases to make California more competitive, job-wise. In the next few weeks, we will put out a detailed proposal that will go into specifics of which taxes, how much. We’re going to combine some of our ideas about tax decreases with some reforms of the regulatory system as well. It’s really going to be a jobs proposal, jobs package.

“I went to one of those meetings (Commission on the 21st Century Economy) and, of course, there’s no consensus in that group…

“The (business net receipts) tax has the feel of the sales tax. The thing that worries me…is that people will perceive a major tax cut just happened – they won’t see the impact of the business value-added tax because it will be built into the price of the product. I’m afraid that politicians will want to ratchet up the sales tax over time because people will think it’s so low…

“I oppose a split roll (property tax) and a carbon tax. This is not the time to be adding new taxes.”

EDUCATION

Cuts in education: “I’m very concerned that we’re under-investing in education but the answer is not to increase taxes, because then you get into this accelerated death spiral. It’s going to be painful for the next year or two or three in order to get out of the mess we’re in, there’s going to be pain…

“I support higher tax revenues through lower tax rates and I want to invest these higher tax revenues in higher education and K-12…

“People from universities in other states are creating raiding parties of the UC system, our professors are going to get pilfered left and right here.”

Teachers unions: “(Teachers) are the ones that told me there’s so much money that never makes to the classroom. There are 600,000 people who work in K-12 and over half of them aren’t in the classroom…

“I want to empower teachers. People ask me this all the time – you’re a Republican, how are you going to deal with the unions? My education reform platform is going to appeal to teachers. There’s 300,000 members of the CTA and I’m going to communicate with all of them…

“There are 5,000 schools that report to 1,000 schools districts that report to 58 county boards of education that report … to a whole mixture of…bureaucracy and overlap…We’ve got to totally flatten that out.”

Dysfunctional state-schools financing: “We have to fix that.”

THE CAMPAIGNpoizner

Platform: “How I run for governor is going to be critical to my strategy. I’ll be issuing more and more details – I’m going to be very specific. I will drive my political consultants nuts. Political consultants don’t want you to be specific – ‘don’t let them pin you down.’ But that’s not the way I’m going to be running this campaign.”

“Some of my TV advertising may say the following – ‘please do not vote for me unless you agree with me’…I’m hoping I get elected by a landslide.”

Part-time legislature: “From 1850 to 1967, California had a part-time legislature. I want people who have been successful in their community and then they’re sent to the Legislature to make wise decisions…I want to figure out a way to attract a different kind of person.”

Gov. Schwarzenegger: “I think (he’s) been scattered. Sometimes he’s working in this direction, sometimes he’s working in that direction. I really do admire that he’s gotten the reform movement started…but he doesn’t have necessarily my same devotion to a set of core principles.”

Jerry Brown: “I look forward to running against Jerry Brown. He’ll be a tough, formidable candidate – he’s crafty, it will be a tight campaign. He is the epitome of someone who has never had any experience whatsoever except in politics and I bet you the majority of voters are going to say ‘thank you but it’s time to retire.”’

Tom Campbell: “Tom Campbell…is a great person, but he’s advocating tax increases – he’s running in the wrong primary. He’s not going to get into double digits, he’s not going to be the Republican nominee.”

Meg Whitman: “This is going to come down to between Meg Whitman and me and when people dig in they’re going to realize that only one of us has actually started companies from scratch. The other one is a large company marketing executive – that’s a difference…Only one of us has actually run for office and won. I’m the only Republican to get elected in a regularly scheduled election since 1994…The difference is track record.”

SOCIAL ISSUES

Abortion rights: “I’m pro-choice but I really do feel quite passionate about being against abortions. I want to drive the number of abortions down to as close to zero as possible.

“I just don’t think you can or should outlaw abortion – I mean that’s just not going to happen, wrong step. I’m in favor of outlawing late term abortion…I support parental notification, I support some logical steps that put some reasonable restrictions on abortions and most importantly I’m in favor of bold education programs for teenagers.”

Gay rights: “I don’t support gay marriage (and I support) Prop. 8. I do support civil unions and domestic partnerships.”

Social conservatives: “I’m finding that a lot of very conservative social conservative types they understand that my top priority is family values. There’s nothing more important than making sure that families can make ends meet…

“So we don’t completely agree on the social issues but we’re not 100 miles apart. On fiscal issues we’re 100% in lock step.”

Ting: Split the Property Tax Rolls to Increase Fairness

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

philtingFew issues in California politics are as incendiary as Proposition 13, so when San Francisco Assessor Recorder Phil Ting said he wanted to make the case on Calbuzz for altering how the famous tax cut initiative handles commercial and residential assessments, we said go for it. Here’s his offering — one in an occasional series of discussions about reform in California.

By Phil Ting
Special to Calbuzz

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about the need for substantial change in dealing with California’s budget.  And while I am a strong proponent of improving efficiency and accountability in government, I also recognize that fundamental reform only comes when we confront the sacred cows of our political system.

Now is the time to reconsider the most sacred cow in California politics — Proposition 13 — the 30-year-old taxation scheme that has handicapped our state’s revenue stream and forced draconian cuts to some of our most vital state services.

Some people aren’t ready for this. Certain Proposition 13 defenders have argued against reform, noting that property tax revenues have risen 800 percent since the time of Proposition 13’s passage. But this figure is misleading: it fails to account for 30 years’ of inflation and a 63-percent growth in California’s population.

Using a similar metric, the cost of tuition at the University of California has risen by 1,000 percent in the same time period, from $720 to $8,020, according to the California Postsecondary Education Commission. It’s clear that when put into context, a rise in property tax dollars flowing to the state since the 1970s is hardly sound reasoning for dismissing a discussion about substantial reform.

A good reason to discuss reform is that when first passed, the proponents of Proposition 13 touted the protections it offered California homeowners. But today, the biggest beneficiaries of Proposition 13 are large companies and corporate landowners.

Proposition 13 actually opened up vast loopholes for corporate landowners to evade property taxes and shifted the tax burden to individual homeowners. This shift also brought about a dramatic decline in overall revenue stream from property taxation.

For example, 30 years ago in San Francisco, commercial property owners contributed 59 percent of property tax revenues and residential property owners contributed 41 percent. Today, we see a virtual flip: commercial property owners contributed just 43 percent of property taxes in 2008 while residential property owners contributed 57 percent.

As corporate property owners contribute less to revenue, dollars lost through Proposition 13′s tax loopholes handicap our ability as a state to educate our children, keep our streets safe and invest in important infrastructure projects.

To begin to address this problem, I have begun to organize a grassroots campaign of Californians who are behind a split roll system. Thousands have already been mobilized. Our group, “Close the Loophole” would split the property tax rolls — assigning unique tax levels to corporations and homeowners and leveling the property-tax playing field.

According to a recent analysis by the State Board of Equalization, taxing commercial properties at market rate would result in $7.5 billion dollars a year in additional revenue.  This reform would continue to keep homeowners in their homes but would also make corporate land owners pay their fair share and bring needed revenue into the state.

While instituting a split roll is not an immediate panacea for our state’s $26 billion deficit, it would certainly help close the gap. Californians are fed up with an education system that is one of the worst in the country, cities and counties that are struggling to provide even the most basic services and political gridlock in Sacramento that has forced our state to the brink of insolvency.

We deserve better. If we are serious about moving California out of this economic and political morass, we need to consider reforming all the sacred cows, including Proposition 13.

Challenge to Governor Candidates: Campbell’s Got Cojones, Do You?

Monday, March 23rd, 2009


Calbuzz props to Tom Campbell, Presidential Scholar and Visiting Professor of Law at Chapman University, who was the first of the potential candidates for governor to answer — ALL — of our pithy gubernatorial questions in writing.

Campbell, 56, is a former Republican U.S. Congressman, California State Senator, California Director of Finance and Dean of the Haas School of Business at U.C. Berkeley. It’s unclear whether Campbell can raise the money to launch a campaign for governor in a race that includes moneybags like Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner. But he’s a smart guy with a sterling resume and we applaud his willingness to speak directly to the state’s key concerns.

Click here for Campbell’s complete answers. Here’s just a taste:

“We should budget based on revenues one year in arrears. There’s nothing partisan about that suggestion, so I think it has a good chance of being followed. It will take several years to accomplish this; but the “rainy day” fund aspect of Prop. 1A is a good start. After ten years, perhaps sooner, we would raise revenue one year, let it earn interest, and spend it the next year. There would never again be any doubt about how much money we would have to spend. And if there were a decline in revenues, we would see it a year in advance, and take steps with more care to address it”.

“Every new state regulation should carry a 5-year sunset. A regulation could be re-promulgated if it’s been effective, otherwise, let it drop…To attract and keep jobs, we need to continue public works unabated. That means freeways, water storage and transport, port facilities, airports, energy infrastructure, and other projects . . . On taxes, we need to lower every tax that discourages jobs in our state. We need to get more in line with our competitor states’ levels on income tax, sales tax, and business tax.”

Re. Proposition 13: . . . “the ‘split roll’ idea is a job-killer.”

Re. Dealing with the Legislature: “. . . The Governor needs to be respected by and have respect for the Legislature. The Governor who wins by demonizing the other party, or the other branch, cannot hope to be effective once in office.”