It was an eventful evening in Rancho Cucamonga where the first guest in the county party’s series of getting to know our candidates for the Republican Party nomination for governor. Tom Campbell, a noted academic in Economics and law came to the podium to speak about the economic situation in the state of California. Basically Tom was talking about fiscal responsibility and the lack of fiscal responsibility in our legislature by spending more than we take in. That in the past after Proposition 13 we had the Gann Limit where we were required to have balanced budgets where excess revenue would be given back to the taxpayers and not to be used to slush fund extra programs. Tom explained that in his time in congress there was a law called the Graham Rudman Warren Hollings act that called for automatic spending cuts if the budget is in deficit and if there is no actual cuts are made then automatic cuts are made. Since the Gann Limit was repealed in 1989, Tom would use his power of the line item veto as governor to constrain spending and force our budgets to be balanced.
Then we also had a discussion on the common statement our friends in the progressive community, Should we have the rich pay more? In California 93% is paid by the top one-third, and 70% of our state taxes are paid by the top 9% of wage earners in our state. We are already having our rich pay already.
However after his speech we had discussions about regulations and how regulations can be abusive to our economic climate. Such as AB 32 where it drives up the cost of doing business in California, where we need to find reasons for businesses to stay or come to California to help fund the programs and services the state provides. Also the issue of lawsuit abuse was addressed where the fear of lawsuits also affects the business culture where we can curtail frivolous lawsuits by having the loser pay part or all of the cost of attorneys fees based on their income. Since California has one of the highest tax rates in the nation we have to come up with ways that California can become competitive in business compared to states that do not have an income tax or even a business tax.
Tom had his charts and handouts for the audience and explained his argument about improving our dire fiscal climate and he did win the audience on fiscal issues, but on social issues it will be a hard sell to the base of Republicans in inland counties such as San Bernardino, Kern and Riverside. Even though Tom knows how to make our state fiscally responsible a good number in the audience will probably discount him for his views on social policies. My advice to Republicans is we should take any white knight we see right now, and when the state’s fiscal picture gets better than we can be more critical and chose who would be better on social issues. Values voters are going to have a hard time because all of the candidates running for governor are either pro-choice and or friendly to gay issues. Personally I might choose Chuck Devore for US Senate even though he is not friendly to gay issues. Politics is about the art of compromise.
Aside from the guest speaking, the San Bernardino County Central Committee is in the process of nominating a new chairman in the next month. I also think for the edification of the voters of California, the event should be offered as a podcast (audio download).
It was nice seeing Sharon and a few other people during my first Republican Party meeting in the last six years.