Opinion: Primary Source: California’s new Assembly speaker talks jobs, taxes and budget reform

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Democrat John A. Pérez, sworn in on March 1 as the California’s Assembly 68th speaker, stopped by The Times on Friday to discuss with editors and reporters efforts to close California’s $20-billion deficit (he noted that, of the $20 billion, lawmakers have already identified about $5 billion to cut) and reform the state’s budgeting process for the long term. Most notably, Pérez said he would refuse to ‘foreclose’ on the possibility that the state may have to raise some taxes and spoke at length about reducing the two-thirds super-majority requirement for the Legislature to pass the budget to a simple majority.

Below are streaming audio clips of the editorial board’s Q-and-A session with Pérez.


Three priorities: jobs, budget, reform (3:14)

Simple-majority budgeting (9:54)

Re-drawing legislative districts (2:39)

Where to cut $15 billion (5:00)

Taxes and government roles (4:15)

Evaluating past legislative leaders (1:05)

Schwarzenegger as a lame duck (1:19)

Term limits and bipartisanship (2:48)

Why Maldonado isn’t the lt. gov. (1:43)

Lowering the unemployment rate (4:23)