Gatto and Ramani go into detail

The candidates vying to represent Burbank and Glendale in the state Assembly agree on the need to create jobs, but differ in their paths toward righting the economy and fixing the state budget crisis.

In written answers to questions from the Glendale News-Press, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Silver Lake) and Republican businessman Sunder Ramani laid out their priorities.

Gatto beat Ramani in the June special election to complete the term of former Assemblyman Paul Krekorian. In the Nov. 2 regular election, they seek a full two-year term that would begin in January.

Ramani has focused his platform on jobs and getting government out of the way of the private sector. Gatto has emphasized fixing the state’s perennial budget crisis.
One area of clear disagreement is on the proposal to ease the requirement that two-thirds of legislators must agree to pass a budget.

Ramani wrote that lowering the threshold to a simple majority would increase California’s taste for waste.

For Democrats, he wrote, the “last obstacle to passing a budget without reflecting spending cuts is the presence of the two-thirds supermajority law. The adoption of a simple majority rule would result in larger budgets, where everything becomes a ‘critical’ priority, and the mechanism to pay for this will be higher taxes on the middle class.”
Gatto said the two-thirds requirement gives inordinate power to legislators who trade their votes for promises of funding.

“After watching year after year of late budgets loaded with billions of special-interest giveaways to win the votes of the last few holdouts, I think we have to conclude that allowing a majority to pass a budget would result in far less pork….We are one of only three states in the nation that requires a supermajority to pass a budget.”

Both candidates said they oppose Proposition 19, which would tax the legal sale and use of marijuana in California.

They also said the state needs to encourage private-sector growth.

Gatto, a former aide to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), said California should stop taxing businesses based on their payrolls, as that drives corporations to set up elsewhere. He also called for the state to invest in infrastructure and support the renewable energy sector.
Ramani, a longtime Burbank businessman, said the state should review all agencies and commissions for waste, and ease regulatory obstacles for small businesses.

“You can’t love jobs and hate the people that create them,” he wrote.

Ramani said his experience on the boards of local businesses and nonprofits gives him a leg up.

“I am a Main Street businessman that has strived to give back more than I take,” he wrote. “Relevant experience in solving our collective problems is needed, not political career interests.”

Gatto said his political experience gives him an edge.

“I grew up here, I've lived here most of my life. I believe I understand and represent the needs and priorities of the residents of the district, and will work tirelessly to protect our community and fix the broken budget process in Sacramento,” he wrote.

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