Nunez Likely to Succeed Wesson as Speaker

By Loretta Macktal, Executive Assistant to the Vice President, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Dec. 1, 2003 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

Assemblyman Fabian Nunez (D-Los Angeles) appears to have the votes needed to succeed Herb J. Wesson Jr. (D-Los Angeles) as Speaker of the California Assembly next year.

On Nov. 20, Nunez’s top two rivals for the post, Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza (D-Long Beach) and Dario Frommer (D-Los Angeles) dropped out of the race for speaker and endorsed Nunez, paving the way for him to become speaker when Wesson steps down after the state’s March 2004 primary election. A formal vote is expected to occur in January.

Nunez, 36, is a relative newcomer to the Assembly, having been elected only last year. The fact that he is a freshman means he could serve as speaker until 2008, considerably longer than the recent two-year average for Assembly speakers.

When Nunez takes the helm next year, the state’s budget shortfall is likely to continue to be the focus of both houses of the legislature. The backdrop to the state’s budget crisis is the unhealthy California economy, where high costs and onerous business regulations are driving away jobs. Despite this, the democrat-controlled legislature has pushed bills to increase fees on business activity to backfill general fund cuts or to fund new programs.

Legislators are missing or ignoring the link between a healthy business climate, jobs, and increasing state tax revenues. The tax and fee solution to the budget crisis is a dangerous sham, as it only adds to the burdens in the economy and exacerbates future budget deficits. The genuine solution that raises revenues for important government functions like education, public safety and healthcare is a growing tax base. To achieve that, California must have substantial business reforms to lower costs and improve the business climate.

We look forward to working with the speaker-designate and his staff on these challenging and important issues for California manufacturers.
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