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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Alameda, Santa Clara County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
State Senator; District 10

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 Choices, Budget Process, Higher Education, Major Issues and Priorities

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

? 1. How will you prioritize the budget choices the Legislature must make to align the state’s income and spending, and address the need for fair revenue sources that are sufficient for state and local government services?

Answer from Rob Maffit:

Primary approach is to cut spending, particularly state employee payroll, and entitlements.

Answer from Ellen M. Corbett:

First and foremost, we must fully fund our schools. Accessible and quality education is the key to economic recovery, stability and growth and plays a substantial role in decreasing utilization of other state funded programs. Additionally, we must invest in those activities that spur on economic growth and move us toward a stable, robust economy. We must ensure our tax structure is equitable to all Californians and that we end special tax breaks that benefit a few and that do not provide meaningful benefit to our state and communities. The Legislature and Governor should be diligent in its oversight of state spending to ensure that state programs meet their desired goals effectively and efficiently.

? 2. What proposals, if any, do you support to fix the budget process? What other types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?

Answer from Ellen M. Corbett:

California is only one of three states that requires a super majority of the Legislature to approve the annual state budget (along with Rhode Island and Arkansas). This requirement means that, year after year, a few members can hold the budget hostage, against the will of the majority. It is not right for state contractors, workers, local governments, and schools and vital services to go unpaid because the budget is delayed. A late budget also damages California's bond rating, which means more taxpayer dollars go to pay our bond debt and less to fund our schools and essential services. We should eliminate the 2/3 vote requirement to pass the budget. Doing so will hold legislators more accountable and will result in on-time budgets.

Answer from Rob Maffit:

California has a balanced budget requirement, but it allows structural deficits to continue by 'borrowing' from future years. This defeats the entire purpose of the balanced budget requirement. It allows legislators to avoid the difficult task of saying no to a popular program that must be cut to balance the budget. I oppose any borrowing from future years' budgets.

? 3. Many members of the Legislature say that education is a high priority for the state. Yet fees for public higher education have gone up dramatically and funding has been cut. What is your vision for California’s higher education future, and how do you propose to get there?

Answer from Rob Maffit:

California spends an enormous amount on education, but does not see results. I believe the lack of competition for education dollars results in lax administrations. I applaud teachers who work tirelessly for their students, despite seeing only a small fraction of the money spent on education put into their paychecks. My priority is to create competition to traditional public education, such as charter schools, voucher programs, and better support for home schooling. I also believe 70% of education spending should be on teacher salaries and direct student education expenses. New facilities are the bottom of the priority list, especially palaces such as those being built by LAUSD.

Answer from Ellen M. Corbett:

I have consistantly opposed cuts to education in the state budget. Full funding of our public institutions of higher education is key to our economic recovery and vitally important to ensure that California remains competitive in the world market. I will continue to fight in Sacramento to make education our first budget priority.

? 4. What other major issues do you think the Legislature must address in 2011? What are your priorities?

Answer from Ellen M. Corbett:

The 10th Senate District has become a center for economic development in new and emerging biotechnology and green industries that address the needs of our changing world and are good environmental partners in our communities. These industries, and the myriad of community businesses that they support, are at the forefront of economic recovery for our state. We must continue to find ways to ease the challanges that business face and support their contributions to the creation of jobs, services and products that improve the lives of all Californians.

California must be diligent in our stewardship of the environment and protect and enhance our natural resources and urban green zones. We must ensure that our children grow up in healthy communities, breath clean air, have access to safe drinking water, and are not exposed to harmful toxics.

As the Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I have worked hard to ensure access to justice in our courts and that the courts function effectively to resolve civil disputes and criminal actions. I have never backed down from a fight to protect Californias consumers. I have focused my efforts on assisting families who are facing home foreclosure, protecting the privacy of all Californians, ensuring that our children are safe from internet predators and working to make sure that prescription labels are readable for patients in order to reduce incidents of medication errors.

Accessible and affordable quality healthcare remains elusive for many Californians and I will work to make sure national healthcare reform is implemented effectively in California.

We have an obligation to ensure the safety and well-being of those who rely on public services, especially our children, seniors and persons with disabilities. Maintaining services that support families remaining together in their home is important and challanging in today's economy. We must preserve our safety net programs and avoid the higher cost of institutionalized care for these individuals.

Answer from Rob Maffit:

Reduction in the regulatory burden from agencies such as CARB, and a more business-friendly litigation environment (specifically, elimination of joint-and-several liability.)

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' responses are not edited or corrected by the League. No candidate may refer to another candidate in the response.

The order of the candidates is random and changes daily. Candidates who did not respond are not listed on this page.

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Created: January 6, 2011 15:01 PST
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