Who Can Tackle California's Budget Crisis Should Decide Gubernatorial Race
With the many issues being debated in this year’s gubernatorial election in California, it seems naive to assume that one could determine the race.
But in my opinion, your vote in November should be based on who you believe can best handle California's budget crisis.
The hard truth is California’s budget is in an unprecedented state of disarray and it seems there is nothing the current administration in Sacramento can do to fix it.
The July 1 deadline for the new state budget came and went without any sort of resolution, and the $20 billion deficit is only going to get bigger.
Lame-duck Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and most state Republicans have refused to concede to the Democrats’ insistence that only new taxes can fill the gap.
They insist that government worker pensions must be cut and current taxes be reworked to fix the problem.
Much like two groups of children on a playground that would rather sit in a time-out than make up, the two feuding parties refuse to compromise even when it drives our state closer and closer to bankruptcy.
Now Gov. Schwarzenegger is essentially washing his hands of the mess, claiming that he will refuse to sign a budget that does not fit his criteria.
The message? Jerry or Meg, it’s on you now.
The question is who will be better equipped to handle the colossal task: the lifelong politician who was already California’s governor once before, or the former CEO who led one of the most successful companies in America?
Meg Whitman has made clear her intentions to handle the crisis from the beginning. The former CEO believes the best way to run the state is the same way she ran her multi-billion dollar business: pragmatically. She emphasizes that she does not see California itself as a business, but believes business principles can be used to overhaul the state’s budget.
From the start, her message has been that her experience has taught her how to successfully manage a budget. She plans to overhaul the state’s many troubled programs by using a “less as more” mentality and cutting costs she deems unnecessary.
She has slammed opponent Jerry Brown for being a lifelong politician, vilifying the term to mean he is the same sort of person who got California in the mess it is in.
Brown, on the other hand, does not see Whitman’s experience as a virtue. He points to her nonexistent former political career, and characterizes her as a corporate bigshot who feels she can buy her way into office.
He points out that running a government is not the same as running a business, and he has run a government before.
"I've done this," he told Time magazine. "I've been in government and overseen thousands of businesses. I've run charter schools. Those are businesses. She ran her...her website.”
Unlike Whitman, Brown has been involved in California politics for almost his entire adult life. He has held almost every position in higher-up California politics and is arguably one of the most experienced politicians ever on the California ballot.
So who will do the better job? The lifelong politician with years of experience or the newcomer who claims she can revolutionize the entire system?
It’s up to the California voters, and I hope they don’t take the decision lightly.
To reach staff reporter Stephanie McNeal, click here.