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tv   [untitled]  CSPAN  June 7, 2009 8:30am-9:00am EDT

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schumer tried to tell you that we really did move this event to yankee stadium. >> you have to lo the dinner. a really unique moment. and seeing the funny side of mccain was something that maybe would have helped him if people had seen it more often. frustrations with the kind of attention and performance that obama was doing. but i just think it's so healthy that people can laugh at themselves and poke fun as well. >> election day in chicago, walk us through the events that led to his speech at grand park. >> being inspired by teddy white's book, i really wanted to capture that last 36 hours of the campaign, which is the opening of the book. and it was an extraordinary time of change for this individual, where he transitions from being a semi-normal person to this
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institutional figure of a president. he spent it up in this hotel room, the top of the high yat hotel. and things move very, very quickly on the night. he -- his chief strategist, he called up early on in the evening to say things look pretty good. and he didn't want to say congratulations mr. president as bob strom had said in 2004 because they were all very hesitent within a few minutes effectively virginia went the whole election was done. and i think it took them all by surprise. one key moment though, he canceled the fireworks on the night, an executive desigs to tone things down. again, a sort of supernatural ability to step outside the moment and say let's be disciplined because people are watching. >> the book is called renegade from crown publishing, the making of a president. our guest richard wolf. thanks for joining us. >> thanks so much.
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>> we are going to turn our attention to politics. two members of the california lur, george runner and darrell stineberg and later in the program governor tim poll ente, governor of minnesota. it is sunday morning, and washington journal continues.
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>> how is c-span funded? >> private donations? >> i don't really know. >> from public television. >> donations. >> i don't know where the money comes from. >> federally? >> it comes from donors. >> how is c-span funded? 30 years ago, america's cable companies created c-span as a public service, a private business initiative. no government mandate, no government money. >> with the federally mandated transition to digital television coming next week, we'll get a status report how the fcc has prepared viewers for the change.
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congressman joe barton, station manager kevin harris and eerka swansen, an activist group coordinator. washington journal continues. >> we're going to spend the next hour look agget the situation in california. and joining us is one of the legislatures from the state george runner. thanks for being was. >> good morning. >> first, what is the situation with the budget deficit? how much are you looking at and how do you cut costs? >> we've been trying to close the gap on a growing budget deficit over the last number of months, back in february there was a budget passed that tried to close the budget gap. it also increased taxes for a short duration of time and then went to the voters to ask them fef they wanted to extend that amount of time. and of course the voters turned that down. and as a result of that, and
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the ongoing deficit, less revenues coming in, we are currently now looking at a deficit here in the next 12, 13 months as somewhere around $22 billion. it's a staggering number even for a state as large as california. >> the governor has proposed a flat tax, possibly 15% across the board. your reaction? >> well, i think simplifying the tax system is a great idea. i think that trying to bring everybody on board, trying to make sure it's an understandable tax system is certainly one that i think we ought to look at. my concern wher we talk about changing the tax system, and that is, is that just another way to kind of shift the tax and actually in the long run actually increase overall taxation. and that's one that i would have to look at very carefully. californians are some of the most overtaxed people in the nation, some of the highest income tax rates, the highest sales tax rates, some very high
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property tax rates. even with prop 13 we're still not in the lower side of that when it comes across states. so overall, i'm very concerned about anything that appears to be another way to go back into the pockets of california taxpayers. >> i want the share with you the comments of the labor secretary in an interview that airs later this morning on c-span, and we talked to her as a california native, as a former representative from your state about the situation not only in terms of the labor issue and the jobs issue, but also the overall economy. here's part of what she said. >> i would say that it is in very dire situation and it does need attention. but i would -- i believe that the state law makers there, and as a former law maker myself, that sometimes touf make a hard decision. and pain has to be spread out so i understand there's negotiations going on now. i know the governor has his plan and there's some resistance. i think part of the problem in california is you have such a
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high standard you have to meet to change anything to raise taxes and ref new. you have to have a two-thirds vote, which is very high and somewhat unrealistic in many cases to reach. >> so senator, let me pick up on two points. first, the ballot initiatives that california is so famous for. is it time to change the system? >> no. i don't believe so at all. i mean, the fact is that california is a very robust system that involves individuals within the political process. it's something you turn to when it is that the legislature jaunch times has ignored the will of the people. so i don't believe that's the case at all. in fact, i believe the whole issue of ballot oriented spending is way overstated. the fact is the one that probably drives us the most is prop 98 here, which is requires a certain percentage of revenues to go to education. the fact is the legislature can always interrupt that. so we still have great control over our dollars. the problem is the legislature
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just has not been disciplined at all over the last number of years of spending within the means that the taxpayers have given them. >> our phone lines are op and we have one line set aside for you who live in california. the numbers will continue to be at the bottom of the screen. send us an e-mail or a tweet. so what happens next? >> well, the what happens next is we're going to take a look at what we're going to do. the big challenge is we know there has to be a reduction of the size of government and the cost of government here in the state of california. the voters made that very clear. they said this is your problem, not ours. we are doing our part by paying these higher taffles. you need to figure out how to make government live within its means. the question is whether or not we take it out on californians. are we going to take away services for californians that they well deserve for the taxes that they pay and kind of keep special interested protected in that process? are we going to go ahead and
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let lots of money be sucked up in middle management for education or are we going to see education dollars go to the class room? are we going to protect kind of the class of state employee soss they continue to have some of the most generous benefits of people across this nation? or are we going to say you're part of this solution, too. you need to come join us? i think those are going to be the real questions. >> i want to go back to the agreement that you worked on back in february. and i'm going to round the numbers a little bit. about $16 billion in spending cuts, another $14.5 billion in taxes, and $10.9 billion in borrowing. can you walk us through those numbers? >> that was when we looked at a deficit that we were looking forward to that toteled somewhere around $35 billion to try to get us through that. then what happened is the voters then had the ability to extend some of those taxes that what was done by legislature
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put those in place for two years. then the voters had a chance to extend those for another two years. that's what they turned down. that was a very contentious vote. i didn't think it would solve some of the problems we had. and, quite frankly, back then they thought the plan that they had put together was going to create only an $8 billion new deficit for the outyear coming up, and that's now mush roomed into a $23, $23 billion, and only about five of that was a result of the voters not passing the issues that were before them in the ballot. so i think we've totally misread this economy here. and we've gone back to taxpayers when they're struggling to keep their jobs, struggling to keep their homes, some of the highest unemployment rates in the nation are here in california. and yet we want back to them to try to have them solve our problem when truly our problem is one of spending. >> the governor appears before the editorial board and the
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story posted on line this morning. and in part of that he answered questions about whether or not ill legal immigrants are responsible for part of the budget deficit and the governor's response was, don't blame the deficit on illegal immigrants. your reaction? >> i don't think you can blame any one class or groups of people on our deficit. it's too large. but there's no doubt that californians pay an exorbitant cost beyond what we should for those who are here in our state illegally. you can either turn to our prison system where we look at probably 20, 25% of those in prison are here illegally in the state of california. so californians pay the bill for that. you can look at our health care system, our school system, you can look at a number of ways to which californians are paying that cost. to me i don't think it's a matter of blaming. it's a matter of saying, it's back to the federal government, we just want a fair reimbursement for what it is that california taxpayers are paying for the lack of federal government to enforce its
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immigration laws. >> one of those is john joining us from santa ana this morning. good morning. >> good morning caller: i want to say that having a balanced budget takes a lot of things. if instead of spending money on the prisons to how's each approximately $40,000, we can spend it on education. if we have a more educated society, they're less likely to do crime, more likely to be productive people. and pay taxes. and that will help the deficit by people paying taxes. host: do you say higher taxes? caller: no. the taxes. spending money on education, when people are educated they have jobs, the spending money into the economy, and they're paying taxes. not new taxes, just the tax system.
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host: senator. guest: california spends about 50 cents of every dollar on education, whether it be k-12 or higher education. that's obviously a significant commitment. in fact, over the last five years in k-12 education we've increased that education amount by over $9 billion in spite of the fact that we actually have about 50,000 less students in k-12 than we did five years ago. so we've made lots of investment. the question is whether that's getting to the classroom or getting gobbled up in the midst of the bureaucracies and the different levels and special interest that is use the money instead of going to the classroom. host: tom from weaver, alabama. good morning. caller: if for instance you just said that 50% of your revenues go to education, why can't you just fake whatever
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percentage of previous -- take whatever percentage of previous appropriations of the revenues that come in and make those for each individual budget item and spend exactly what you take in rather than spending surplus? >> well, i think if i understand the question correctly, i think the fact is that what california needs to do is we basically need to roll back our spending to the levels that we had back about three, four years ago. and that would create a balanced budget for us. we've greatly increased our spending over the last number of years. and so we scrust need to go back a few years, adopt those numbers, and adopt those levels of services. and we will get through this just fine. host: another question from a tweet to us saying, why does california use the props to leat? -- legislate? guest: i've offered a number of initiatives that andly tell you what my response have been when
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identify gone to the ballot issue is whin the legislature didn't move. issues to which californians wanted to do which the legislature didn't act on. i autsdzrd here in california what was called jessica's law dealing with sexual predators. i've tried to run that bill through the legislature over the last number of years. we couldn't get anywhere and so we went to the voters and it passed by over 70%. so those are the kind of things that happens when you have a legislature that is not response dwroif where the people are. guest: scott is joining us. our focus this morning, california, its current budget situation. and our guest is scott runner from california. caller: i've heard it on the radio and everything about the federal government possibly bailing out california. i just want to find your input, where would that be fair to the rest of the country for the misspending done by california? and the reason i ask this is because being in wisconsin, i
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don't know if you know much about wisconsin but we have democratically controlled governor, assembly, and senate, and they just proposed through their budget a 7% spending increase during a recession, which isn't the brightest thing in the world. guest: i can appreciate the fact. and i'm greatly concerned over the fact that we've got a number of bailouts coming from washington to states in its to talt. and i question what we're doing to the future of not only the states but also the nation as we continue a pattern of overspending from washington, d.c. but let me speak to the issue particularly of money coming to certain states. the fact is i'm looking for the federal government to give us fair reimbursement. we mention ds the issue of illegal immigration. i don't think what we should be getting is a bailout at all. but i do believe the federal government does owe to the states reimbursements that are
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fair based upon the requirements tand responsibilities that those states are taking on when the federal government isn't doing their job. host: let me take the other side, because there's been >> we're not going to fail. we just need to decide what our priorities and our spending is. i believe we will get through this. i think we can get through this. the combe is whether or not we will reform how government is provided and the levels of service that is are reasonable for what californians are paying or whether or not we're going to try to keep all the bureaucracies and all the overspending in place and kind of hold it together with tape and string until somehow revenues start coming in again. we can get through this. it's a matter of whether or not we decide to kind of reform how it is that we provide services for citizens here in california. host: who do you think will be
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the next governor? guest: that's a challenging issue. we have some very high-profile candidates. our family is in a little bit of a different situation. my wife is a former assembly member here in the state of california. she's endorsed one republican candidate. i've endorsed another. not the first time we've been in that situation. but i think we're going to have a very robust discussion next year as it comes to this election. i think that the thing that will be on people's minds here in california is the economy and their jobs, and the security of the future. and i think that's going to be number one square in the debate. and i think, quite frankly, that our republican candidates are going to have a much greater grasp of how to move california successfully into the future on those issues. host: we have a link to who have you endorsed and who has your wife endorsed? >> i've endorsed steve poise anywhere and my wife has
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endorsed another. >> who is in contension on the democratic side in your state? >> i have a hard enough time getting involved and understanding this process in obviously the republican side, but certainly i think at the top of the list is our current attorney general and former governor jerry brown who is taking another look to serve again as governor because we did bring in term limits but has served prior. has a rich history as a family in regard to politics. i think he's at the top of the list. at that point you go to another folks. certainly the mayor of los angeles, news m of san francisco. i think those are folks who certainly are in the contension at that point, kind of ige what they want to do. i think they're going to have a very active primary campaign also. >> it is 5:50 in the morning in california. so we appreciate state senator
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george runner joining us from the capital in sacramento. stockton, california our next caller. caller: good morning. i have a couple of points. back to the getting a handle on the government agencies and their spending. now, i used to work for a company that had government contracts with like chp, department of forestry, and the like. this time of year was particularly prosperous for the company i worked for because those agencies would be spending money hand over fist to make sure that they drained their budget before the new fiscal year started. now, that might be one way where we could rain in spending so that we don't have agencies trying to just deplete their books so they make sure they get the same amount of money on the next budget year.
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guest: i think there's a lot of things we need to be looking at. there's no doubt that during times when revenues are coming in and we had some very good revenue times over the last ten years, spending increased dramatically. now we've got to go back and take a hard look at how that spending went. and it's going to take some adjustments. right now in many schools, frin, we have contracts in schools with school eployees that if indeed we have to move a paid person out of the library, that we have laws within the contract that those people can't be replaced by volunteer parents to run that library. those are the kind of things that we need to think differently and say how can we provide services to citizens at the best value? and it's going to take some change. but i believe we can do it. host: our focus is california budget. and this comment from a viewer who says senator runner do you feel states and local governments should take a larger role in immigration
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enforcement? guest: well, i believe that we need to be a part of that process. i think identifying the cost of illegal immigration particularly is an issue that we have not done very well here in the state of california. and then i think we would be better off going back to our federal reimbursement if we knew what our real cost were when it comes to education, medical services, those kind of issues incarceration. i'm a believer in trying to figure out what those numbers are. and for that reason, i do believe that local government and the state of california ought to be involved in a greater way of identification of those who are here ill legally but yet requiring services of the taxpayers of the state of california. host: john, good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. i just want to give a quick idea of something maybe to watch out for. i think your proposition program is a good idea personally when legislature won't work for the people it's a great idea to have us have an
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opportunity to come back and make some changes. we have something similar here in florida where we often have some amendments to the constitution. one problem we had here though i'm sure you may have out there, we had the huge property taxes on these huge overinflated home prices and home values. and we had a change to our constitution about a year ago to lower the tax rates to several years ago even though our rates have been going down over the years. of course the result was when those values finally started to take huge drops we lost millions of dollars statewide and here countywide where a lot of our programs are on a county level. that's something to watch out for with your proposition program. guest: obviously we had proposition 13 back almost 20 years ago now that set property tax here in the state of california that was kind of a precurser. i think a lot of times we just need to think differently about
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revenue. we have some desire for some groups to do some offshore drilling here in the state of california. a prosecretary that was supported by environmentalists and even the board of supervisers from santa barbara county usually very sensitive. but yet the democrats have turned down that project. that was worth $100 million and up to a billion over the b next few years. but i believe there's a way to get revenue. we just need to be very open minded and fair minded. >> the great advantage of this program is that viewers can send in their comments right away. and as you were answering this question. is if california property tax is based on the sales price at the time of the purchase and never changes until the home is sold, how can the state meet its obligations? >> what you will find is over the history of the state of california, the average person who stays in a piece of property is but a few years in reality. there's a movement that goes
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on, people move from house to house, people move up and around so the property taxs are reassessed. plus mr. is a building escalator that lets them increase that at a small percentage each year too so that kind of takes care of that. the reason to remember to keep that property tax capped in terms of the sale was because we had a very excessive property tax system here in the state of california that were forcing many senior citizens out of their homes just by the increased taxes because the quick valuation of property in the state of california. >> i our guest george runner was a member before being elected to the state cincinnati in 2002. he is -- senate in 2002. >> good morning. thank you for c-span. i've lived in california for over 50 years. i can remember when property taxes were high, they were low. today, i pay about $2,500 a
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year. if i wanted to, i couldn't send my child to private school. yet i get police, fire, roads, the whole ball of wax for $2,500 a year. we're not paying for what the state needs. we're not paying for what we want. as to propositions, i leave target, i leave wal-mart, and there's probably three gice out there, two women, they've all got five clip boards each and they want me to sign this, sibe that, put this on the ballot. and what they are is a meat axe approach to legislation. your comments, please. >> well, first on the issue of taxation, property tax. when i first came to the legislature about ten years ago in the state of california, the state budget was around $50
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billion. the budget that we're looking at now, the budgets that we're passing now are somewhere in the neighborhood of $95 billion. so we've had plenty of growth. our growth over the last ten years have exceeded population and inflation of revenue growth. so the revenues are there in the state of california. the problem is we keep spending more than the revenues coming in. so i don't believe that's nearly the case of the fact that somehow people aren't paying for their services that they deserve. and again, in the idea of proposition initiatives, there's no doubt that oftentimes it's a very clumsy process to try to change the law. but it is a reaction that the legislature isn't react. and it's a very important safety valve i believe for the citizens to have here in the state of california. guest: where -- host: where has the spending increased? guest: education. those dollars have increased dramatically as revenues have
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gone up. but also then the cost of prisons have gone up dramatically in the state of california. one of the problems that we have here in our prison system is that we've had the federal government step in and take over our prison health care. and let me give you an example. right now in the state of california we spend $14,000 per inmate for the cost of their health care. that's every inmate no matter how healthy or unhealthy they are. as a result of the fact that we've had the federal government step in and kind of take control over parts of that. now, we're trying to fight that, we're trying to deal with that. but that is one of the highest costs that we've seen. and in fact, that alone has cost us probably about $2 billion or $3 billion over the last five years in the increase of health care in the state of california for inmates. it's ridiculous that california inmates sometimes have better health care than some californians do. host: and governor schwarzenegger saying he wants to close sanquenten.
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guest: it's related to the question of property that the state owns. the state owns very expensive properties and i don't believe that the government should be in the business of keeping expensive property. and if some property has a higher value being sold and then we can replace what that property does for us in a cheaper way so the taxpayers get the benefit, we should do that. so i'm certainly a part of and supportive of surplus properties being sold here in the state of california. government should not be a collector of properties. we should be giving services to taxpayers. host: steve, the last call, good morning. caller: good morning. identify got a couple of questions -- i've got a couple of questions. why doesn't the governor go ahead and allow to get the oil out of california? i mean, he doesn't have to do any more drilling or anything else. he can do with the wuvens offshore. another question is why are you


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