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Poizner vs. Whitman in Republican gov. primary

March 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The race for governor is heating up with three major candidates now that California Attorney General Jerry Brown has entered the race. Jerry Brown's Republican opponents are spending big bucks as the June primary election draws near.

Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman says if she's governor she'll veto virtually all new legislation that doesn't focus on jobs and financial growth.

Whitman started an expensive battle for the Republican nomination the day after Jerry Brown, the former Democratic California governor, announced he had entered the race.

Billionaire Meg Whitman made her money as the highly successful chief executive officer of EBay. She's never run for public office but thinks her business credentials qualify her for the governor's office.

"My view is that my experience in business: I've met a payroll, I've balanced budgets for 30 years, I really understand how to deploy technology to do more with less," said Whitman.

Multi-millionaire state insurance commissioner Republican Steve Poizner invented part of global-positioning systems and was elected twice to statewide office.

"Between Meg Whitman and myself, only one of us has actually started companies from scratch, and that's an important distinction. I'm not a large-company marketing executive, I'm an entrepreneur. I'm an engineer. I build things. I fix things," said Poizner.

And he is fixed with money. Poizner has donated $19 million of his own money to his campaign. Advertisements began this week.

Whitman can afford attack ads. She's put $39 million of her fortune into her campaign so far.

Whitman says she is serious about vetoing virtually all new bills that don't deal with the budget or jobs.

"The legislature now has a 14-percent approval rating," said Whitman. "I mean we're down to, you know, blood relatives and paid staffers. And so I think Californians are really ready for a change here."

Poizner says the way to make California more competitive is to reduce taxes.

"I'm proposing a 10-percent cut in sales taxes, income taxes, corporate taxes, a 50-percent cut in capital gains taxes," said Poizner. "That's going to produce a much bigger growing economy. Tax revenues will go up."

Whitman says with a $20 billion deficit the state can't afford across the board tax cuts.

"Let's do targeted tax cuts that get people back to work right away," said Whitman. "Then we'll cut government spending to create some capacity to invest. The economy will be starting to roll, and then we'll get it really rolling by an across-the-board tax cut."

The primary election is in June. The general election is in November. Democrat Jerry Brown faces no Democratic opposition in the primary. The former two-term governor and present attorney general is not without baggage and controversy. Eyewitness News will air an interview with Brown Thursday at 5 p.m.