State Sen. Ruben S. Ayala (D-Chino) and Assemblyman Charles W. Bader (R-Pomona), locked in perhaps the state's most closely watched legislative race, have not been able to agree on terms for a debate. Here, however, in response to questions from The Times, they go head-to-head on seven issues.
Q: If, as many predict, the state faces a budget deficit next year, would you support raising taxes to help balance the state budget?
Ayala: "I'm not for raising taxes, but if you have to, you have to . . . I can tell you where I wouldn't cut. I would not cut law enforcement, the drug abuse programs, educational programs and COLAs (cost of living adjustments) for the elderly, blind and otherwise handicapped. I would not balance the budget on the backs of these folks."
Bader: "I will resist tax increases. Too often state and federal government look to tax increases as the first line of defense in balancing a budget. I don't think we should do that. We should live within the revenues available."
Q: Do you favor or oppose taxpayer-supported abortions for poor women who otherwise could not afford to pay for them?
Ayala: "I support it if the woman's life is endangered or (she) is (the victim of) incest or rape and qualifies for public assistance. I don't want to finance abortions on demand or as a birth-control method paid by the taxpayers."
Bader: "I oppose taxpayer-funded abortions."
Q: With booming growth in the 34th Senate District, should developer fees be raised to pay for building new public schools?
Ayala: "Absolutely. . . . I think that when someone causes a problem, they should try to resolve that issue."
Bader: "That's a difficult question to answer because I've been very involved in the school facilities financing program, and what we did was develop a balanced program of bond issues and fees. And so, my answer is no."
Q: Do you favor or oppose requiring California employers to provide health insurance to every worker?
Ayala: "I think it should be a combination of the employer, perhaps the government, and the employee. We've got to take care of the health benefits that millions of Californians don't have today, at least help them with the catastrophic costs of health care. I did not support (Assembly Speaker) Willie Brown's bill that said that any employer with five employees or more will have to provide health insurance."
Bader: "I oppose that. To require small employers to provide a full health package similar to the one proposed by Willie Brown, which would require the employer to pay at least 75% of the cost, is to force many small employers out of business and their employees out of a job."
Q: Should the state impose a system of no-fault automobile insurance in which a motorist's own insurance pays the cost of the claim?
Ayala: "I'm an insurance agent. I understand liability. I believe a system should be worked out that will make sure that every car on the highway will have the minimum coverage."
Bader: "Yes, I strongly support that. I voted in favor of the measure sponsored by the Consumers Union and offered by Assemblyman Pat Johnson (D-Stockton), and I believe that is the best compromise I have seen available in the Legislature."
Q: What is your position on Propositions 131 and 140 that would limit legislative terms?
Ayala: "I'm opposed to them . . . I never heard where seniority and experience were an obstacle to success. . . . If the people are happy with an individual, why shouldn't they be allowed to vote for him?"
Bader: "No on 131 because of the public financing (an added provision that would finance political campaigns through tax contributions.) Yes on 140."
Q: What is your position on Proposition 128, the so-called "Big Green" environmental initiative?
Ayala: "I think we're trying to do too much with one stroke. Of course, I want clean water and clean air, clean off-shore drilling, and I want to save the old forests. But if this thing passes, it'll probably be in the courts for the next 15 years trying to find out what it says."
Bader: "No. It's too complex. It's going to end up in court. I question the constitutionality because of the multiple subjects involved. I think it is much, much too elaborate and its enforceability is definitely questionable."