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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
Contra Costa, Alameda County, CA June 5, 2012 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 16

The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California Education Fund and asked of all candidates for this office.     See below for questions on Budget, Government reform, Higher education, Major issues

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?

Answer from Estes A. "Al" Phillips, III:

As an elected state assembly member the budget is the biggest priority. The budget must be audited and departments need to be evaluated to determine where there is duplication. Those duplicating agencies should be consolidated and individual departments budgets need to be closely scrutinized. Education and public safety should always be first on an elected official's agenda. Conservatives have found up to 4.4 billion dollars of wasteful and duplicate spending, as well as new revenue, in the existing budget that could be utilized to fully fund schools without raising our taxes.

? 2. What types of changes or reforms, if any, do you think are important to make our state government function more effectively?

Answer from Estes A. "Al" Phillips, III:

We need to restructure and reform the pension for public employees. Our existing system is completely unsustainable and I believe that the state legislature should approve the Governors 12-point plan for pension reform. In addition our state needs to focus on the reduction of burdensome regulations that are crippling jobs. California has been ranked the least favorite to start or expand a business. The state should be offering tax incentives for companies staying or expanding in the state. In addition we need to have an honest conversation on means to have people to become self-sufficient. Our entitlement system should be not be used as a safety net for many, unless they are truly in need. It should not be allowed to become a person's way of life. Pride in a job well done and a dollar honestly earned goes a lot further in building our economy and our way of life.

? 3. Fees for public higher education have gone up dramatically and funding has been cut. Is this a priority concern, and if so, what measures would you propose to address it?

Answer from Estes A. "Al" Phillips, III:

Schools, teachers and our public education system are always used as a tool to increase taxes, yet these taxes never seem to go back to the schools! Every year, budgets are cut further and education costs go higher. We need to re-evaluate our government spending and decide that we cannot continue to use our education system as a pawn for our budget woes. We have money in the budget that can be taken from other programs to fully fund education without additional tuition hikes and new taxes. It is time review the duplication and waste in the budget and fully fund our schools by balancing the budget within our current means.

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

Answer from Estes A. "Al" Phillips, III:

We must address the mass exodus of businesses leaving the state. We should foster an environment that would encourage business to relocate, expand and grow here in California. This could be done with a series of expedited permit processes and environmental Impact reports. We also need to provide our youth that choose not to go to college with more trade school options. As older tradesmen retire there needs to be an influx of fresh, newly skilled laborers to take their places.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. References to opponents are not permitted.

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: July 26, 2012 13:02 PDT
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