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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund

Smart Voter
San Francisco County, CA November 2, 2010 Election
Candidates Answer Questions on the Issues
Member of the State Assembly; District 13

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 Tom Ammiano:

Assembly Democrats have been committed to an open, transparent budget process. We have had more than 100 hearings where testimony was requested from every conceivable community impacted by the budget plan. Forums have been held in Fresno, Palm Springs, San Diego, Orange County, Reseda and Albany.

The results were consistently and overwhelmingly clear: Californians value jobs. We value education. We value the safety net because we recognize that in these unprecedented times, we have an obligation to take care of the poorest, the sickest and the most elderly Californians.

We cannot solve our financial crisis by disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable in our society. We need a state budget that puts families first, creates jobs and provides a strong safety net to help Californians through these tough economic times. We must focus on developing additional financial revenues if we want to invest in health care, education, employment opportunities and other critical services

We've cut more than $30 billion out of the budget the past few years. Most of the programs in this state are on life support.

Assembly Democrats proposed budget:

Protects 430,000 private sector, local government, and school jobs

Funds schools at around $54 billion to protect key education funding levels which will save over 35,000 teacher and other school employee jobs.

Protects full funding for childcare programs for working families

Restores $610 million in cuts to UC and CSU

Provides full funding for Community Colleges and doubles funding for the Economic Development program that trains tens of thousands of unemployed and looking for work Californians for new careers.

Restores $70 million for critical public health and clinic programs. Maintain bare-bones safety net to continue welfare to work programs.

Reduce prison healthcare costs to save $811 million

Rejects governor's proposal to shift billions of dollars for safety net responsibilities to local government with no new massive revenues to cover the new cost.

Cut staffing funds and overhead by 5% to save $700 million

Saves more than $1.4 billion by eliminating cuts that would result in less federal funds being available to California.

? 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 Tom Ammiano:

I support changing the 2/3 requirement for budget and revenue adoption.

? 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 Tom Ammiano:

When I first came to California in the late 60's, California was known for its quality of higher education, accessible to people from all income levels. I received my Master's Degree in special education from San Francisco State University.

California's Master Plan for Higher Education, developed in 1960, set out a vision for public funded higher education in California. A publicly funded three-tier higher education system that was the envy of the world. California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California became the economic engine that drove and sustained California's growing economy for decades, for example, California's predominance in technological development.

The state higher education system is a gateway for the majority of Californians seeking an undergraduate education in California. CSU grants over 50% of all four-year college degrees conferred each year in California, and that includes the significant majority of degrees to students who are Latino and African-American.

California's public higher education is a proven and invaluable path to advancement for those who, like I did, seek advanced education and training. It has had a tremendous impact on the future of all the people of California.

With increasing frequency, it is difficult for young people to move on to affordable higher education. What is going to happen when Californians either can't get into or afford universities here. If the value of publicly funded higher education is incalculable, so too is the cost over the long-term of NOT providing such education.

We need to bring additional sources of revenue into California to support quality public education.The governor and some legislators have asked financially strapped students to deal with fees that have doubled over the past five years. But they have asked for no additional sacrifice from our wealthiest citizens or corporations.

As I mentioned above, two specific proposals I have for for bringing additional revenues to California are the Marijuana Control, Regulation and Education Act and Change of Ownership property tax bill.

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

Answer from Tom Ammiano:

Please refer to my list of priorities issues.

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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