Candidate For California Governor Gets Specific In Santa Clarita
Steve Poizner outlines his plan for the State at small business roundtable.
In a meeting room at the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, California gubernatorial hopeful Steve Poizner detailed his ideas for the future of California.
The Republican candidate hosted a small business roundtable, the ninth such event he's led so far. After a quick introduction by local Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, who has officially endorsed Poizner, the candidate briefed the room on his history, the present picture in California and his plan for the future.
Poizner currently serves as the state's Insurance Commissioner, a publicly elected office he took over in 2007. Before that, he served for one year in the White House as the director of Critical Infrastructure Protection in the National Security Council. His career began in Silicon Valley as the founder of several businesses, including one that developed a technology that put GPS receivers into cell phones.
According to Poizner, the state of California is in "the worst meltdown since the inception of the State." He cited a 12.2% unemployment rate and said that when you add in those who are underemployed or simply not looking for new jobs, that brings the total number to roughly four million people who can't find the work that they desire.
Poizner also pointed to Nevada's business climate when describing what he believes to be California's short comings.
"In Nevada, the message is: If you do business in California you're nuts," he said. "They have no corporate income tax, the workers compensation tax is 30% lower and the electricity stays on."
In restoring California to financial grace, Poizner believes that the State needs to assist businesses.
"The only way to solve our problem is to rehabilitate our economy," he declared.
After that, Poizner says, the State will be in a position to go after other major problems including balancing the budget and fixing the State water system.
Exactly how California gets back on track was the subject of most of the small business roundtable. Poizner outlines several specific steps that he plans to put into action if elected.
His first step is to cut taxes. Poizner proposes a 10 percent cut in every personal income bracket, a 10 percent cut in corporate income tax, a 10 percent cut in State sales tax and a 50 percent cut in capital gains tax.
He declared that even with such reductions, an immediate boost in revenue for the State will occur.
Poizner's second goal involves TORT reform.
"This is a lawsuit state," he said. "We have to get control of that."
He pointed to the decades-old medical injury compensation law that prevents non-economic damages from being awarded in amounts greater than $250,000. Poizner plans to extend that non-economic damage cap to all lawsuits in the state.
Governmental efficiency also made Poizner's list of goals; he proposes bringing all state and local permitting processes under one new website. He also vowed to appoint a Chief Innovations Officer, whose only job would be to look at ways to streamline state government, including "modernization of the tax and regulatory bureaucracies."
The final piece of Poizner's initial plan is to align the State's labor rules with the rest of the Country. He decried laws that force employers to pay workers overtime after eight hours of work on a given day, instead of initiating overtime after 40 hours per week.
With those goals in mind, Poizner told the audience that California has a "huge competitive advantage," and he was optimistic that his plan can capitalize on that.
Such specific ideas are a part of Poizner's overall campaign strategy.
"I want to have a clear directive," he said, remarking on life post-election.
He went on to say that his plan is to put all of his ideas out there, and if people don't agree with them, they won't vote for him.
Before the roundtable discussion concluded, Poizner opened the floor to questions and feedback. All of the participants were Santa Clarita small business owners, and many remarked on his ideas and asked how he would go about putting them into action.
Poizner responded by pointing to the tremendous power the Governor has in California, with line-item vetoes and other abilities.
"Governors don't utilize the power they have," he said.
Illegal immigration was a concern echoed by some in the meeting, including Council member Bob Kellar.
Poizner said that his experience with the National Security Council proved to him that the southern U.S. border is porous and it poses a threat. He said that if elected, he would call President Obama and urge that the federal government take action to secure the borders.
"If they don't do it, I will," he said. "I'll send the National Guard to our border, I'll send the California Highway Patrol to our border." Jokingly he added; "I'll even send the chamber of commerce to our border, what ever it takes."