2008-02-01 / Community

Former governor Wilson weighs in on ballot propositions at CLU

By Nancy Needham nancy@theacorn.com

FILE PHOTO Pete Wilson FILE PHOTO Pete Wilson Before arriving in Simi Valley to watch the Republican presidential debate Wednesday, former California governor Pete Wilson stopped for lunch at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, where he spoke to an invitation-only crowd of about 120 faculty, students and local community leaders. He also answered questions.

Wilson said he was against Proposition 93 and that he did not believe what proponents of the proposition say about it shortening term limits. He explained that he was in favor of term limits, although he remarked that about one legislator in 200 has important experience that it would be unfortunate to lose.

He said that having people in Sacramento long-term did not necessarily benefit the people. However, he said he would vote against that proposition because it does not do what it was meant to accomplish.

Simply being there does not make you experienced, he said. Knowledge, natural endowments and effort are what is needed.

Wilson had a response for those who say elected officials need more time to learn the ropes.

"You can learn very quickly, and if you don't, you really shouldn't be there," he said.

Wilson recalled having to present a budget to fix a $7billion revenue gap four days after he was sworn in.

He said he could not get the Democrats or Republicans to stop spending, and he mistakenly signed temporary tax increases. Wilson advises Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger not to do the same.

"Democrats only seem to understand the way to fix the deficit is to increase taxes, and (they) don't understand the result of that," Wilson said.

Raising taxes slows down revenues; lowering taxes increases revenues, he said.

He also said the state needs to change the way business is done and not spend every penny. Like a family, the state should put some money aside as a cushion, he said.

Wilson also said he was against the Indian Gaming Compacts, Propositions 94, 95, 96 and 97, on next week's ballot.

According to Wilson, the wrong people gamble; it is a tragedy, he said, when people who cannot afford to do it gamble. It is also a tragedy when people get addicted, he said.

Wilson also warned that host communities do not have much to say about the environmental and law enforcement impacts of the casinos.

He claimed law enforcement officials have told him an increase in slot machines in a community means there will be an increase in vice, prostitution and drugs.

He also noted the revenues promised from gambling are speculative.

When Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks asked him what he thought of the federal rebate to stimulate the economy, Wilson responded that it would be a corrective measure but would not result in solid growth.

To make a longterm difference, he suggested a further reduction in capital gains and cutting the tax burden on small business from 35 percent to 25 percent.

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