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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
State Senator; District 7

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 stateís income and spending?

Answer from Mark P. Meuser:

California does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. We can only spend what we receive from the tax payers. A balanced budget is necessary for our future, our children's future, and California's future. The percentage of government employees compared to the population has grown over the years. The more government employees, the more government programs, the more government regulations, and the more the state spends on employees wages and pension benefits. We need to reduce the size of government. We need to stop automatic increases in the budget just because an agency spent all of the money budgeted to them the year before.

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

Answer from Mark P. Meuser:

Government needs to be run more like a business. It is important to examine everything and make sure that the people's money is being spent properly. We need to stop the splurge of government spending that occurs each year as departments attempt to keep their former budgets. We need to stop the thinking that government must grow each year and instead, must find ways that government can run leaner and smarter.

? 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 Mark P. Meuser:

The percentage of funding that California has spent on education over the years as compared to the state budget has not fluctuated too much (48 - 54%). In fact, over the last 20 years, our Educational spending has increased from 21 billion to approximately 47 billion (Over 130% increase in budget while the population grew approximately 27%). However, what has fluctuated over the years is the downward trend in the results of how we are spending that money. California used to be the leader in the United States when it came to education and now we find ourselves in a position that we do not not like. The problem is not how much money we are spending on education, the problem is how the school administrators are spending that money. It is time to hold our school administrators accountable for how they are spending the money that we are giving them to educate future generations.

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

Answer from Mark P. Meuser:

We need to cut unnecessary red tape that is driving business out of California and taking with it employees who were paying taxes that funded our state government. California needs to once again be an importer of jobs not an exporter. We also must make common sense sustainable pension reforms to protect our communities.

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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