Editor’s note: Idyllwild is now part of Assembly District 71, which runs from Poppet Flat to the Mexican border. Much of the district is part of former Assembly District 77 and Brian Jones (R-Santee) is the incumbent, elected to his first term in 2010. His Democratic opponent is Patrick Hurley, also of San Diego suburbs.
Assemblyman Jones was interviewed at the Town Crier office, Sunday, Oct. 14.
“Much more dysfunctional than most voters would know,” Assemblyman Jones replied, when asked his impression of his first term in Sacramento.
What specifically would you do to relieve the state’s budget chaos?
Proposition 32, which would prohibits unions, corporations or government contractors from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes, is a lynch-pin in Jones’ opinion on how to solve the budget crisis at the state level.
Everybody has special interests, but the big money affecting the public sector is from the employee labor unions, he said. They have an inordinate influence over the Legislature and the governor, according to Jones.
The unions’ ability to set legislative priorities has resulted in an unstable budget, he claimed. The state’s general fund budget is about $92 billion this year and projected to be $98 billion for fiscal year 2013-14, which is almost at the 2007-08 level of $102 billiion. Jones argues that the state employee unions have limited the legislature’s ability to reduce the budget commensurate with the decline in state income tax receipts.
If Proposition 32 passes, Jones then recommends the Legislature examine its social service offerings, particularly to non-citizen residents. With 12 percent of the U.S. population, California serves 32 percent of the nation’s welfare cases.
Next, he argues that with 2 million Californians unemployed, the state has to find ways to encourage new businesses that hire people and pay taxes.
“We need to create a tax and regulatory environment that is predictable,” he urged. “Free businesses to start making investments and hiring people.”
What is your opinion on Propositions 30 and 38?
“I support neither Proposition 30 or 38,” he said. “Californians are already over-taxed. Shifting a tax onto small business will shrink them.”
“The legislature in Sacramento is not doing a good job,” he continued. “Specifically the majority party who passes the budget.”
He related that many school districts in the state are not supporting either proposition. Hemet Unified required three meetings and a reversal of a “no” vote before officially supporting Proposition 30 at its last meeting.
Jones, like his opponent Hurley, was unfamiliar with Assemblyman Brian Nestande’s (R-64) proposal to ban the deferral of budget funds to local school districts.
“Deferring funds to school district should be illegal,” he said. “I support the idea.”
Expecting them [the school districts] to react after their budget have been passed or even in the middle of the school year is unfair, Jones felt.
The SRA fire prevention fee is in litigation. What is your view of it?
“This is a perfect example of the dysfunction in Sacramento,” Jones responded.
After the legislature passed the fee, which Jones and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association consider an illegal tax, the governor signed the bill, but his directions for implementation were complicated the legislation and added to the controversy around the fee, according to Jones.
He estimated that nearly 30 percent of expected fire prevention revenue would be used to collect the fee.
“It’s an illegal tax and the state has no business receiving it,” he concluded.
What are you doing to make Idyllwild and Riverside County voters understand their Assemblyman is from San Diego County and you represent them as much as your home?
“First, we’re here as part of our campaign and putting up signs,” he said. Next week, his office will be sending mailers out to residents.
Second, in the next session Jones plans to assign one of his field office staff to cover Idyllwild and the Hill.
“A district office person will specifically be aware of issues here and go to local chamber of commerce and town hall (type) meetings,” he promised.
To read past newsletters or sign up for future newsletters, you can visit Jones website, http://arc.asm.ca.gov/member/77/?p=newsLetters.