Wednesday, March 3, 2010
IN MY OPINION (Column)
Why Meg Whitman? Why Now?
By JON COUPAL
Why has the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association Political Action Committee endorsed Meg Whitman? It’s all about the “tipping point.”
To understand how we came to this conclusion and why it is critical to the future of our state, it is important to understand the nature of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association (HJTA) and the Political Action Committee (HJTA-PAC).
After Proposition 13 passed in 1978, Howard Jarvis, the measure’s principal author, recognized that although taxpayers had won a major battle, entrenched bureaucrats and special interests would fight back. To protect the hard-won taxpayer gains, Howard founded HJTA with the mission of protecting Proposition 13 and advancing taxpayers’ rights. To help elect candidates who would defend taxpayers’ interests, he set up a nonpartisan Political Action Committee, HJTA–PAC.
In every election since, HJTA-PAC has looked at the candidates for governor and made a recommendation. The committee takes this responsibility seriously and for this election began examining potential candidates in late 2008.
Evaluating the three major candidates who are still in race, this is what we found.
Jerry Brown, Democrat: Brown has a long track record; some good, some bad and some downright ugly. And although he has substantially shed some of his “Moonbeam” image, 28 years after he left the governor’s office, we are still suffering the negative consequences of his actions.
It was Brown who signed legislation that increased the powers of government employee unions. The right of government workers to engage in collective bargaining has resulted in California having the highest paid public employees, including teachers, in all 50 states and Californians paying some of the highest taxes to support this work force.
And Brown is still an advocate of major job-killing regulations. Using state taxpayer money, he has filed suit against local governments for their land use plans which, of course, have to be defended using local taxpayer dollars—a double insult and injury for taxpayers.
However, in Brown’s favor, although he strongly opposed Proposition 13, Howard Jarvis actually gave him high marks for its implementation once it passed.
Steve Poizner, Republican: For the last four years Poizner has advocated fiscally responsible positions, and his current gubernatorial campaign is predicated on cutting taxes. However, as recently as 2004, Poizner campaigned for the Assembly on a platform of doing away with Proposition 13’s required two-thirds vote to impose per-parcel property taxes. And in 2000, he contributed almost $200,000 to the campaign to pass Proposition 39. That measure, which passed over our strenuous opposition, has made it much easier to pass local school bonds that have cost taxpayers $23 billion so far. Poizner says he regrets these actions and is now a strong supporter of Proposition 13. We take him at his word, but to those of us who have been working for taxpayers for decades, these “mistakes” seem very recent.
Meg Whitman, Republican: Unlike the other candidates, Whitman has not served in political office, so we take notice of her business experience, particularly her record as CEO of eBay, which she helped turn into a multi-billion-dollar operation and where she created thousands of jobs.
While experience running a successful business is not an absolute guarantee, it is a strong indication that she has a grasp of budgets and financial issues, skills desperately needed in our state. Whitman, too, supports Proposition 13, while declaring intent to address the major issues of government employee union power and our state’s regulatory and tax climate that have so hurt our economy that California suffers one the highest unemployment rates in the nation. She also has numerous innovative ideas to make government more efficient and would implement the recommendations of the Performance Review Commission that would save taxpayers billions of dollars.
Although other candidates have ideas too, Whitman is the only one who understands that our state is at the “tipping point.” We are balanced on the edge. Either average citizens fight and regain control of California government or we are going to be dragged into the abyss of permanent control of our state by public employees and special interests. Should the tax-and-spend lobby prevail, the result will be even higher taxes and a massive increase in the already significant exodus in businesses, jobs and taxpayers from our state. Those left behind who do not work for government will long for the good old days in 2010, when taxes were “low” and unemployment was “only” 12.4 percent.
We can’t let this happen. For the taxpayers to succeed, we need a governor who will show leadership and be willing to take on the “bad guys” head to head.
Whitman is the taxpayers’ best choice.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company