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Decision '92 : VOTING IN THE VALLEY / AN ELECTION GUIDE : STATE SENATE / 19th DISTRICT : Q and A

October 25, 1992

Questions were sent to candidates in September. Answers have been edited to fit the space.

State Spending

Q. What do you believe is the single most wasteful program in state government?

Burns: Not answered.

Najbergier: Tax breaks to the rich.

Starr: The governor's office is currently the greatest source of waste. As to wasteful programs, it would be difficult to judge which is the most wasteful, but a good example is the Narcotic Addict Evaluation Authority. The members are paid. However, their prison parole function has become obsolete.

Wright: This is difficult since good and bad could be determined of every program. We should evaluate every program for cost efficiency and constituency served. Then the process would be of elimination or reduction based on solid criteria.

Indispensable Program

Q. Are there any state programs you believe should never be cut? If so, what?

Burns: Not answered.

Najbergier: Health, education, welfare, subsidies for the poor.

Starr: Every program must be reviewed and held accountable. What is important is to set priorities.

Wright: What is necessary is that every program have accountability built into the system and then an evaluation can be done and elimination or reductions of programs can then be made.

Taxes on Wealthy

Q. Do you support a November ballot initiative that would raise taxes on wealthy individuals, corporations and banks while repealing 1991 sales tax hikes?

Burns: Not answered.

Najbergier: Yes.

Starr: No. Government by initiative is almost as bad as government by veto. The initiatives almost always contain some elements that are good and others that are bad. At this time, California's economy cannot weather tax increases on those who employ our work force.

Wright: No. Although I support repealing the tax hikes, contrary to belief there are not enough wealthy people to fund the state programs.

Gay Rights

Q. Do you support legislation to ban job discrimination against homosexuals in California?

Burns: Not answered.

Najbergier: Yes.

Starr: Yes.

Wright: No.

Business Exodus

Q. Do you believe businesses are leaving California due to a hostile business environment? If yes, how would you make California more attractive to business?

Burns: Yes. Measures include higher education standards; moderation of anti-business environmental laws; reform of workers' compensation; a less pro-spending, pro-tax Legislature.

Najbergier: No. Business controls California. This widespread slander is very useful in trying to intimidate workers and the people in general into surrendering their rights to have their basic needs met.

Starr: Businesses are leaving California for a variety of reasons. Twenty-one percent move their facilities to Mexico, where labor is dirt cheap. There is no question, however, that there is a perception that California is a hostile business environment. We must immediately take steps to change that perception by reforming the workers' compensation system, eliminating over-regulation and simplifying permit procedures, among other things.

Wright: Yes. Reform workers' compensation; (provide) tax incentives to businesses to expand or for research and development to create jobs; streamline the permitting process especially in the environmental arena; (establish) long-term tax policies, so businesses can plan for the future.

Health Insurance

Q. Do you support requiring California businesses to provide health insurance to employees or contribute to a fund to provide health care for the uninsured?

Burns: No.

Najbergier: Yes.

Starr: No.

Wright: No.

School Vouchers

Q. Do you support giving state money to parents to allow them to enroll their children in schools of their choice, public or private?

Burns: Yes.

Najbergier: No. This would lead to destruction of public schools.

Starr: The voucher initiative, which has qualified for the 1994 ballot, as it is now worded, is an absolute disaster. It would undoubtedly destroy our public education system without replacing it with another that is even remotely equal or better than the system that now exists.

Wright: Yes. I believe parents should have the right to decide where their child should go to school, but I am not totally convinced that the Choice Initiative for 1994 is the best solution.

College Tuition

Q. Should tuition at state universities and colleges be increased to help offset state budget deficits?

Burns: Yes. Tuition should come closer to actual cost, with scholarships and student loans for those who need assistance.

Najbergier: No. Education should be free at all levels. This is a basic right.

Starr: No. In fact, they should be significantly lowered so that we can assure universal education to all.

Wright: Yes, only when it is absolutely necessary to keep the universities and colleges available to all students.

School Bonds

Q. Do you support reducing the votes needed to pass a school construction bond issue from two-thirds to a simple majority?

Burns: No.

Najbergier: Yes.

Starr: Yes.

Wright: No.

Death Penalty

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