California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman told CNBC Friday that the “way forward,” out of the state's bloated government, deficit and high taxes, was to look at what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has done since taking office.
“He had a worse budget deficit, as a percentage, than we have,” said Whitman, a Republican, who faces state Attorney General Jerry Brown, a Democrat, former governor and a member of an influential California political family. Read Brown's interview with CNBC here.
“He’s [Christie has] reduced costs, streamlined the bureaucracy and closed the budget deficit. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do in California.”
Whitman, a businesswoman with 30 years experience and a former CEO of eBay.com , said she planned to slash costs by cutting state personnel and interjecting technology. She said she doesn’t want to raise taxes for Californians, but would generate revenue by bringing in new business. Whitman added that the Golden State isn’t competitive with other states and, if elected, she would tap into her business experience to assess the competition.
“First and foremost, we’ve got to get Californians back to work,” she said. “We’ve got 12.4 percent unemployment, and 2.3 million Californians wake up without a job every morning.”
In addition to high unemployment, California has been reeling from its fiscal woes, including an outsize budget and taxes. After a record 100 days, state legislators passed its $7.5 billion budget, which included spending cuts of $3.5 billion in education. To try and close a $19 billion deficit, the state deferred some spending until 2011 and it also counted what many observers have said could be an overly optimistic projection of aid from the federal government.
Whitman characterized the campaign tenor, in which she was called a whore by a Brown aide and that she failed to pay taxes on her undocumented nanny, as “old-style politics, which aren’t benefiting the people of California.”