Just as Meg Whitman’s “solution” to the unemployment crisis in California is to eliminate tens of thousands of jobs, her plans for the state budget crisis appear to center on making that deficit bigger.
At yesterday’s California Republican Party convention in Santa Clara, eMeg finally talked to the press. But what was more relevant than the fact that she talked to them was what she said. As KQED’s John Myers tweeted:
#CAgov candidate Whitman says in an interview that her “targeted” tax cuts would cost the #cabudget approx. $4 billion
Myers added that it sounded like an annual number, which shows just how reckless Whitman plans to be with state finances. At a time when California faces an annual $20 billion deficit for at least the next 3 years, it is absurd to be talking about blowing a bigger hole in state finances with a tax cut for the rich.
But Whitman doubled down on that reckless pledge, telling CRP attendees last night that she endorsed eliminating the capital gains tax entirely, a move that would do absolutely nothing to create jobs in California since it would merely benefit investors who derive income from global economic activity.
Whitman also defended her pledge to reduce the state workforce by 40,000. She claimed this was because the state workforce had increased by that number in the last 5 years, but failed to mention that was to restore the budget cuts made during the last recession.
Even then, the elimination of 40,000 jobs will do little to address the budget deficit. The average base pay for California state employees in 2008 was $63,815. Multiply that by 40,000 and you get $2,552,600,000. Just $2.5 billion, which would leave Whitman with another whopping $17.5 billion left to cut out of the budget, even before her new tax cuts are included in the figures.
That’s about the total amount the state spends on higher education and on prisons. Medi-Cal, IHSS, Cal-WORKS, and other important human services take up billions themselves. If Whitman wants to close the budget deficit with no new taxes – and even wants new tax cuts – she’s going to have to make massive cuts to those vital services that Californians want.
The real question then isn’t whether Meg Whitman will talk to reporters. Instead the question is how she really plans to close the budget gap. There’s at least $17 billion unaccounted for in her plans, and without new taxes – especially if there are new tax cuts – then the only answers will be to close down the public services that California needs in order to create jobs and function in a modern global economy.
Let’s hope reporters use their newfound access to Whitman to press her on her bad math and get answers as to what Whitman really is planning for this state.