EH: I am more than
happy to welcome to the Hogue show, I think he’s been
on prior, but Assemblymember Joe Canciamilla joins us now,
a Democrat, other side of the aisle from the perspective
of this talk show host. Sir, how are you doing this morning?
JC: Good, Eric, how are you this morning?
EH: I am doing marvelous
today. Nice weather outside. At least it’s not 103 with
a budget impasse today. So, good news for you guys and gals
down there in the beast.
JC: I don’t
know. It might be better if it were a little hotter. It might
get done sooner.
EH: Maybe we’d
get a vote out of this thing, huh?
JC: Might be possible and if we turn the air conditioning off,
EH: We could do that.
It’d be a lot of fun. I could build
a remote around that and get some promotion.
JC: It’d be
fun for you.
EH: Yeah, not you
guys? Joe, let me ask you about the budget as it stands right
now. I know there’s an impasse, and
Friday there was an attempt to get a vote on the Assembly Floor
there, and Fabian Nunez said no, and we walked away for the weekend.
As it stands right now, how would Joe Canciamilla vote on the
JC: Uhh, as it stands
today, I’d be a no across the board.
EH: You’d be
a no across the board? How would your vote have gone Friday
if it would have went to vote?
JC: I probably would
have been a no as well. I met with my local mayors’ conference
representatives quite a while back and told them that I was
opposed to the constitutional amendment
and that I felt that, under the circumstances, locking in another
piece of the budget, without an overall fix, was irresponsible.
And I still feel that way.
EH: So your problem rests here, sir, with Prop. 13 and its relationship
to 98, is that a big problem or?
JC: Well, my frustration
deals with having been on a school board, a city council, a
board of supervisors, and now in the
legislature, seeing one group after another fail to address the
underlying problem with the state budget. And what we’ve
done is try to protect individual groupings of constituencies
that was done with Prop. 98, it’s been done within social
service programs. Now local government’s talking about
doing it. But we haven’t addressed the underlying instability
in the budget. We haven’t addressed what we want local
government to pay for and what we want the state to pay for.
So, my frustration is that until we fix the basic problem with
the budget and decide who’s going to pay for what, simply
locking in pieces so that groups are protected just feeds the
underlying problem we have and leads us to increasing deficits.
EH: Once again, we’re speaking with Democrat Assemblymember
Joe Canciamilla. Uh, Darrell Steinberg offered a comment here,
Joe, here it is. This may be a mirroring comment for what you’re
suggesting here. Here’s Darrell.
DS: We cannot lock into the Constitution the specific sales
property tax formula that everyone agrees is dysfunctional, that
would be a mistake.
EH: Is that a concern of yours?
JC: Well, it is. Probably
for different reasons. I think Darrell wants to lock in a different
kind of formula. He has a different
agenda in trying to, I believe, manage the way in which local
governments make their decisions. I’m not really concerned
as much about that as I am with just trying to get to a system
of stable funding and then I’d be happy to let the local
government make their own decisions when it comes to how to spend
EH: Hmm, see that
the fine example. And I said earlier on the show that if there
were any Democrats who would have offered
a supportive vote on Friday, I predicted you would be on the
Assembly side for the Democrat party. And I’m assuming,
I’m guessing here that Dean Florez might be in the State
Senate side. And your comment right there is the second part
of me bringing you on the show because I find great integrity
in how you approach budget dealings here in California being
a Democrat. You’re representing a little peel away of what
Darrell Steinberg is offering. Darrell Steinberg is offering
a different perspective when it comes to what some of the Republicans
are saying. I mean all of this is worthy conversation. It would
nice if we could hear it on the Assembly Floor and you get that
if you call things to debate and then go for the vote. Why on
Friday, and I’m going to reference a sound-bite here from
Tony Strickland, did this happen? And, Joe, here it is.
TS: What’s amazing is on Friday, we went out and started
gaining support among Democrats, you know what we call not-as-liberal
of Democrats. And the minute we started gaining steam, and it
looked like we might pass Arnold’s plan. The Democrats,
who announced that “be 30 minutes away because we’re
going to call you in and in 30 minutes we’ll start session.” They
ran to the gavel, they closed down the house, with no one in
the chamber, and I had to run in to try and call a Republican
caucus, they ignored me because they didn’t want us to
get enough Democratic votes to roll the Speaker.
EH: Joe Canciamilla, why is the Speaker not allowing this to
go to a vote?
JC: Well, I think
you’d have to ask the speaker, Eric.
I certainly wouldn’t want to try and answer why they operated
on Friday in the manner in which they did. I do think that there
was some concern that members. You know, like I said, I’ve
been to my mayors’ conference. I told them to their face
that I could not support the local government initiative. And
I explained why. We had a good conversation. There are many of
my colleagues who have gone to their local agencies, both Republicans
and Democrats, and have pledged support for the original initiative,
or they pledged support to protect local government. If the measure
had been brought up on Friday, they’d have been forced
to put their money where their mouth was. And I don’t know
what would have happened. And I suspect that that was part of
the rationale behind adjourning. I also suspect it was because
there was just not a desire to have something brought up in a
hostile way. But I would agree it’s partly born out of
the frustration of not having a real open and honest debate about
EH: Yeah, we would
all like to see that. And, ultimately, I’d
like to count the votes on the show, because then we’d
know where everyone stands. And I appreciate the fact that you
come on the show. I ask and you tell me no, and you tell us why.
We need to see more of that, don’t you agree?
JC: Oh, absolutely.
I think it would be helpful if we had a real debate about a
real budget. Instead of all of these pretend
battles with, you know, every constituency under the sun, marching
around the Capitol. And everyone pledging “oh no, we’re
going to protect you, you’re our highest priority.” And,
at the end of the day, all we’re doing is creating a greater
impending crisis for California, that we’re ultimately
all going to have to deal with. The fact is that the debt’s
not going away, the deficit isn’t going away. The obligations
of the state aren’t going to go away. And we’re going
to have to address the reality sooner or later.
EH: So, when you mention the reality and topics like stability
come up, Joe Canciamilla, does this mean you see tax increases
as the long-term budget solution here?
JC: You know I’m not locked into that, Eric. I think that
what I would like to see is a debate over what the priorities
are going to be. What they should be. What people are willing
to pay for. And then we decide, whether or not, it warrants either
cuts in one area to pay for what people want or whether it requires
a tax increase. I don’t go into it with a preconceived
idea that you need to have one or the other. I go into it saying, “let’s
figure out what it is we want. Let’s figure out what services
we want the state to provide. Then we’ll figure out what
is necessary to pay for that.” I think it’s backward
to simply go in and say, we assume we’re going to need
a tax increase and so let’s push for taxes.
EH: Well, I tell you
what, Joe, Democrat party’s the majority,
that gets the speaker position down there. What do I have to
do to put you in the Speaker’s spot, there, huh? What can
JC: First you’d
have to get elected to the Legislature. That might be an interesting
race in and of itself.
EH: Oh my, I’d like to see you in that chair. I mean,
obviously, full disclosure here, I’d like to have the Republicans
in the majority, and Kevin McCarthy there, but if the Democrats
have the majority, I’m thinking Speaker Canciamilla sounds
JC: Well, I will tell
you one of these days there will at least be a focus on policy.
There’ll be a focus on how to fix
problems. And I hope that whoever is going to be in that chair
will be pushing to at least begin to address some of these tough
choices. ‘Cause they are going to be tough choices. There
are going to be difficult issues for us to deal with. And the
sooner we start taking ‘em on, the easier it will be to
solve them. Each time we put up a bad budget, it simply makes
the cliff, we’re gonna ultimately have to climb down off
of or jump off of, that much [tougher].
EH: Joe, you’re
a famous guy. Um, thanks for the time. I greatly appreciate
it. We will do it again soon.