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League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Carole L. Lutness
The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of California and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
Questions & Answers
1. What does California need to do to address the current budget crisis?
We need 54 Democratic legislators in Sacramento to change the 2/3rds vote requirement for any budget increases. Our current law requires a "super-majority" (2/3) vote to get any revenue increases passed. We are one of only three States that requires this 2/3 vote. This is impossible now because Republicans vote lock-step against any revenue increases through taxes, fees, fines, etc. During this year's budget crisis this is going to mean that our children, families, the poor, the elderly, the sick and disabled will suffer because of program cuts. The Republican's hold our budget hostage every year and there has been a marked decline in necessary services and infrastructure upkeep and development. The idea that "there is not enough money" to pay for mass transit, delta repairs, good schools (we're 46th in the nation and will be 50th if the Republicans have their way this year), health care for all and humane treatment of our elderly, sick and disabled is intolerable.
Our Republican's refusal to vote for new sources of revenue is part of a nationwide plot to "shrink government so small you can drown it in the bathtub." Our Republican's refusal to compromise on resolving our budget problems is part of the Grover Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform's "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" which has been signed by nearly 1300 Republican state legislators and state officials all over this county. This pledge, which all but one of our Republican legislator's signed states that they "pledge to the taxpayers of the ___ District of the State of _____ and to all the people of this state, that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." This is the way they are destroying our government and schools. Little by little they are starving schools and programs so they become so weak their corporate buddies can take them over and either privatize the services or eliminate them. Imagine the future if they succeed. We will no longer have a public police force. It will be privatized with rent-a-cops protecting the property and persons of the super wealthy. We will have no civil liberties or protections because our armed forces also will be privatized with Blackwater mercenaries able to knock down our doors because they "suspect" we are terrorists or criminals. All schools will be privatized so that only the super-wealthy's children will get an education. Our elderly, poor, disabled and ill will become "beggars at the gate" begging for alms for the poor as the super-wealthy ride by in their limousines heading for their mansions guarded by rent-a-cops. Our environment will collapse as our oceans die, global warming progresses and our resources are plundered by corporations. We will no longer have a Middle Class. We will live in a world of the "Have Nots and the Have Yachts." The vision of this dystopia is very grim unless the voters wake up as they have done in the past and wrestle control back from the big money/corporate interests as we did during the Gilded Age and the Great Depression.
2. What should the state's priorities be for K-12 education? For the Community College System?
First of all, we must initiate real budget reform in order to fully fund all schools as we did during California's Golden Age. Some suggestions are:
The Democrats most recent proposal to solving this current budget crisis looks to fix many of the systemic problems that plague us year after year. They are proposing an $8.2 revenue increase by adding a higher income tax rate to the highest income bracket. They are also willing to entertain some of the Governor's spending reductions but say that we can't rely on volatile income taxes on the affluent because of how this does not provide a steady predicable revenue stream. We must repair the "fixed spending" formula system (for example - what we have for Education) which exacerbate the boom or bust cycles. We need to generate more stable sources of revenue and say NO to spending caps.
- We must change our Proposition system not allowing any Propositions to be passed that do not have a source of revenue attached. We must stop robbing the General Fund to pay for Propositions. Schools are being starved because of this flaw in our Proposition system
- We must be prudent like sensible families who "save for a rainy day." We must resend the requirement that surpluses be returned to the taxpayers during good times. We need to set aside at least 10% of our revenue in this rainy day fund.
- We must increase revenue through such things as levees for internet sales and services
- We need to restructure the tax base by requiring the super wealthy and corporations pay their fair share
- We must require that oil companies pay tax on the oil they extract and/or refine in California just like every other state that has oil does.
- We must tax luxury items such as private airplanes, yachts, etc.
- We must reform Prop 13 protecting homeowners but separating the corporate from the individual homeowner parts so that corporations will have to pay a fairer tax rate for property owned.
- We need to redistribute the tax burden. The super wealthy and corporations for the last 30 years have shifted the tax burden onto the middle and lower income people. We need to rebalance this.
3. What measures would you support to address California's water needs?
At the cornerstone of addressing all of California's very serious problems such as water availablity and usage is Campaign Finance Reform (Clean Money). With Clean Money (see http://www.caclean.org/materials/watch.php)the people are able to compete with Big Money which has dominated California's (and the nation's) politics since 1976 when the Supreme Court ruled that "money equals free speech." Since then powerful developer interest have hyjacked our State and local political system. To really fix our water problems we need to balance "Corporate wants with the people's needs."
Specific measures that we can take immediately are to be found on my website, http://www.Lutness4Assembly.com
4. What should the Legislature be doing to address the needs of Californians without health insurance?
I believe that good health is essential for all life and that access to affordable, quality health care is a fundamental human right. We spend over $2 trillion for health care in the United States, yet nearly 50 million people are still not covered and another 50 million are denied adequate care by their insurance companies. Health care is a human right, yet the World Health Organization ranks the United States 37th in the world in health care outcomes although we spend nearly twice as much as any other country, enough to cover everybody with excellent comprehensive health care. We rank 6th of the 6 major industrialized nation for health care outcomes. I believe we need to work toward: 1 UNIVERSAL COMPREHENSIVE HEALTH CARE COVERAGE: Ensure access to quality health care and coverage at affordable costs for all Californians. Is is essential that the provision of Quality Universal Healthcare with coverage for all members of our community. Coverage should include the most vulnerable (who are least able to inform and participate in public policy); including children and students, very low, low and moderate wage employees, people seeking employment, people with "pre-existing conditions," the homeless, and those with special disabilities, rare diagnoses and chronic illness. This quality healthcare should also be comprehensive, including medical, dental, vision, mental health and prescription services. 2 INSURER OVERSIGHT: Establish oversight including stronger rules regulating insurers to elevate standards for coverage that preserve and increase consumer protections for all Californians. 3 LARGE PURCHASING POOLS FOR ALL that allow consumers to share risk, as opposed to efforts to shift risk and place financial burdens and barriers on individual consumers and families.
4 SINGLE PAYER INSURANCE SYSTEM: Work towards the development of a non-profit single payer system, which dramatically cuts administrative waste for both providers and patients alike.
5. PRESERVATION OF OUR SAFETY NETS: including community and public health clinics, mental health and dental clinics, and public hospitals on which we all rely, especially people who are left out of the system and without coverage.
6. SUPPORT FOR BOTH THE PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING of the population, including an emphasis on preservation of health and prevention of illness.
7. COST CONTAINMENT: Support cost containment focused on prevention, safety, efficiency, transparency, and group purchasing so that consumers pay less and get more.
8. DIVERSITY AND EQUITY: Meet the specific needs of the full diversity of California, toward equity and access for all. Any health care system should include language accessibility and address cultural diversity. STRATEGIC STEPS: Given that the existing private, for profit health care insurance system has failed to satisfy these principles, and since other systems in other countries are providing a broader coverage at lower cost and have better indices of population health, the benefit of their experience should be incorporated in our move forward. Urgent reform should be undertaken toward the goal of a comprehensive, universal health system, like Medicare for All.
I was an original supporter of SB840 and believe that this type of system is really the only way to ensure that Health Care is a RIGHT and not a privledge.
Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).
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Created from information supplied by the candidate: September 3, 2008 08:55
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