This is the second installment in a series profiling 3rd party candidates for Governor of California.
Laura Wells is no stranger to the demands of leadership. During her tenure in numerous county and state-level leadership positions, and her 2002 and 2006 State Controller campaign bids, she personally experienced the state's bipartisan machinations. From these experiences, she has composed a list of priorities to get California out of debt and protect taxpayer-funded services.
Candidate Wells earned a Masters of Education at Antioch University. Her academic credentials have given her a set of professional skills in finance, business analysis, computer programming, and managing complex financial systems. She has called California her home for over 30 years and believes firmly in the integral role small businesses play in driving California's economy.
Candidate Wells' fiscal reforms revolve around amending Proposition 13 to more equitably distribute the burden of taxation. She is aware of the challenges she faces in questioning the efficacy of Prop 13, a popular mandate, but her intentions aren't to dismantle the legislation, only to call attention to portions, which to her, are ill-conceived.
“As governor alone, one cannot change the 2/3 majority vote to be simple majority for both budget and revenue, a change which is needed to get California back on track,” says Wells, “as a governor and even as a candidate, however, one can do everything possible to fully inform people and promote this change. I have discovered that even politically savvy Californians do not know all the parts of Prop 13. Most candidates will not touch it - it's called the third rail.”
If elected, Wells would propose to:
… “start a State Bank to invest in California not Wall Street.” Pointing to the success of North Dakota's almost century old state bank, Candidate Wells calls such a strategy “tried-and-true and innovative.” She asserts that a state bank would work with local banks to insure their solvency and increase their ability to lend while simultaneously extending loans directly to students and local community businesses at fair interest rates. The interest on all of these loans would stay in California to be reinvested in California communities.
… “pay for services for all with tax revenue passed with a 51% vote rather than Prop 13’s current 2/3 majority that benefits only the super-rich and corporations.” Candidate Wells contends that lowering taxes isn't necessarily better for California's economy. Having been lowered in boom years and not adjusted for the bust cycle, taxes must be fairly proportioned to continue essential public services.
She points to the fact that the 80 percent of the population, with less combined wealth than the top 1 percent, are stuck with a higher tax bill. This tax code erodes California's middle class and perpetuates class stratification. Her solution is to grant the legislature the ability to raise taxes with a simple majority vote, the same protocol for lowering them. Wells contends that the small minority of state lawmakers that traditionally contest fair budget proposals do so to protect wealthy constituents and organizations in their districts.
…sign single-payer legislation that promotes health insurance coverage for all residents through a government sponsored insurance plan. According to candidate Wells, such a plan would control the growth of health care spending by reducing costs through “consolidated financing and purchasing” of medicines and a streamlined administrative structure. Wells would support legislation that emphasizes preventative care and gives consumers complete freedom of choice for alternative treatment and the right to refuse treatment. Wells would fully recognize California's medical marijuana law and ensure that it is upheld by all the appropriate local, state, and Federal agencies.
To read the first installment of the 3rd party gubernatorial candidate series, click here.