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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Orange, San Diego County, CA November 2, 2004 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 73

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California and asked of all candidates for this office.

See below for questions on Budget Crisis, Education, Water, Health Insurance

Click on a name for other candidate information.   See also more information about this contest.

1. What does California need to do to address the current budget crisis?

Answer from Andrew "Andy" Favor:

The first thing that needs to be done is to eliminate redundant government services, and accordingly I will join forces with State Senator Tom McClintock and support the creation of an independent committee to review all state programs that duplicate federal or local services and eliminate them. The mechanism would be similar to the very effective federal program that shut down unnecessary military bases several years ago. The committee's findings would go to the legislature for a straight up or down vote on the whole so that influential members of the legislature would not be able to dilute the plan by pulling out pet projects.

A second area that I would like to address is in the area of Medi-Cal abuse. For whatever reason, I receive a phone call at least once a year asking me about having a parent transfer a house and other assets to a child so that the parent will qualify for Medi-Cal benefits without a lien being placed on the assets. This taxpayer rip off is called "Med-Cal Planning." Due to federal laws enacted in 1996, a year Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate, this is perfectly legal. In fact, a Medi-Cal applicant is required to sign a statement that they are aware of this "planning" opportunity by signing a "Notice of Spend-down." I fully support taxpayers in using every legal avenue to keep the government from picking their pockets. However, when someone has a million dollar house and they expect the taxpayers of this state to pay their medical bills, that is just wrong, and I will fight to end this abuse.

I understand that the above items will make but a small dent in the deficit California is facing and therefore reform in all government programs and benefits will be needed. California businesses can no longer afford Defined Benefit Pension Plans, and California is going to have to face the reality that it cannot afford them either. Therefore I would like to see every conceivable service outsourced to private companies. The city of Lake Forest here in Orange County is a stellar example of how well privatization works.

2. What should the state's priorities be for K-12 education? For the Community College System?

Answer from Andrew "Andy" Favor:

The State should encourage more charter schools and autonomous school districts. Secondly we need to break the public school monopoly and offer vouchers and tax credits so parents have a much broader choice when selecting a school for a child's very unique needs. The one-method-for-everyone model does not work and and only a comptetitive marketplace will offer the educational diversity that this diverse state needs.

3. What measures would you support to address California's water needs?

Answer from Andrew "Andy" Favor:

California has no excuse for water shortages or lack of equitable water distribution. A December 14, 2003 Orange Country Register editorial quoted Brett Barbre of the Municipal Water District of Orange County as saying, "more water is released out of the San Francisco Bay every day than would meet the needs of all of Southern California for a year." In addition, we possess the technology to turn seawater to drinking and irrigation water. I support legislation that restores water rights and allows ethical private industries to build desalination plants and sell their water to local and inland towns.

4. What should the Legislature be doing to address the needs of Californians without health insurance?

Answer from Andrew "Andy" Favor:

First off, the solution to California's medically uninsured lies in the private sector, and not another state or federal program.

By way of background, there are three primary categories of people in California who do not have insurance. There are those who are healthy and choose to forgo insurance. There are those who are between jobs and have given up coverage, and there are those who cannot afford it. The answer for all three lies in greatly expanded medical savings accounts.

A medical savings account works just like an IRA and provides a pretax savings vehicle to accumulate money to cover medical costs. Currently, to have a deductible medical insurance premium you have to itemize your taxes and even then you only get to deduct what exceeds 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. Or, your premiums can be deductible if you are self-employed or are fortunate enough to work for an employer who has adopted a Sec. 125 plan. I think every American should be able to pay their health insurance premiums with pre-tax dollars regardless of who they work for.

Congress has taken a good step in the right direction with the creation of "HSA Accounts." However, these have too many restrictions and do not go nearly far enough to be considered a solution.

I envision accounts that have no contribution limits that can receive contributions from an employer or an individual, and can be used pay the medical costs for friends, family, sponsored immigrant relations, or anyone. The entire contribution would be a page one deduction on an individuals tax return and would generate a credit for social security taxes so that contributions have all of the benefits of a Sec. 125 plan.

The adoption of such a plan would diminish the numbers of un-insured Californians as follows:

Healthy Individuals-Tax deductibility would give healthy individuals an economic incentive to contribute to a plan knowing that they can buy a high deductible or catastrophic policy that would leave the bulk of their contribution to grow tax free to cover future medical needs, or personal enjoyment later in life.

Workers Between Jobs-Participation in a health insurance plan would be at the individual level and the medical savings account will allow families to accumulate funds to cover insurance premiums between jobs without portability issues.

Poor People-Obviously a tax deduction is meaningless to a poor person who does not pay taxes. My plan allows for an employer to contribute to a MSA for an employee as part of a salary package, but goes further in that it makes a legitimate tax deduction for people who come to the aid of a "needy family." Because government programs typically are like a leaky hose with only pennies on the tax dollar actually going to help the truly needy, my plan eliminates the middleman so that 100% of aid to the needy goes to cover medical expenses without the fraud element of government programs. More money going directly to aid the poor and less fraud will result in dramatically more help for those in society who are truly in need.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League. 

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily.

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Created: December 15, 2004 13:39 PST
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