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John Chiang Is The 'No-Drama' Candidate

John Chiang is pictured in this undated photo.
Sally Schilling/Capital Public Radio
John Chiang is pictured in this undated photo.
John Chiang Is The 'No-Drama' Candidate
John Chiang Is The 'No-Drama' Candidate GUEST: John Chaing, California state treasurer

John Chung believes he can strike a sweet spot in the governors race as a Democrat who is physically provement here that's how he is a first generation Taiwanese Immigrant. He is on the board of immigration and served two terms as state comptroller before his election as California treasurer. He suggests he is in the pack of candidates fighting for second place in tomorrow's primary. Capital public radio and Adler pointed out to Chung that it is a very crowded area this year and asked why he is the best pick for governor. >> Three critical issues. Trust. Who gets the job done. When California was in the fiscal crisis who was the leader in the state who fought for everyday Californians. Challenging former Governor Schwarzenegger when he wanted to pay public servants federal minimum wage to taking on the legislature when they were passing phony budgets. People were tired and they wanted a champion for them. Integrity. I am the no drama candidate. Has one of the media publications pointed out. I am squarely focused on doing the job. I will not embarrass the people of California. And a record of fiscal responsibility. This is the worlds sixth largest economy. We have to build a strong economic and financial foundation for all of Californians individuals . >> one of the things you mentioned for standing up for folks was calling out the legislature for the lack of balance budget in 27 -- 2011. The courts found you were wrong. Was that a mistake in retrospect? >> That was not a mistake. The company has to enforce the voters well. I was disappointed that the judge basically said that anything the legislator passes is a balanced budget. This date was being mocked by made -- major publications. Other governors wanted to come in and raid the state of good hard-working people in jobs. Californians want someone who is fiscally bright, build more housing, invest in education, fighter climate change and make sure we have affordable health care. You cannot do that unless you have someone who knows the ins and outs of state finances. >> Reporter: On healthcare, you support the goal of single-payer health care. You acknowledged concerns about cost and feasibility. What would you say that progressive Californians are conservatives who might question whether you are trying to have it both ways. >> I am a committed. California's elected can trust me to get a single-payer plan that is financially viable that will provide greater coverage and put people's security. I have been Ernest about making sure the programs that I being -- bring forward are in effect. Do you trust me the one who helped bring California out of the reception desk a recession or the others who left their city and major deficits. Not paying pre-funding obligations. I think there is a crystal-clear difference in a track record, openness, transparency, honesty, as to the states values and how to pay for the states values. >> Reporter: When it comes to providing -- presiding over budgets, you have put yourself in contrast to other candidates who are mayors. Could you say that the mayors had the misfortune of leading cities during the recession and you had the benefit of California coming over that hump? And the economic boom of the past decade or so ? >> I was there during the darkest days of California. I was signaling early on to the governor and legislator that they need to take action. What separates me from the others including those, Antonio and Gavin who let their cities, is that I identified those problems early on. I did not let it fester and become a crisis. We need leadership that recognizes a downturn economy in a downturn in states finances. We will address it earlier make sure it is less potent on the residence of our great state. >> Reporter: Back to healthcare and single-payer. There is also a push from Democrats and the state legislator for universal healthcare not single-payer with a goal of covering all Californians but within the states existing health system. Is that an acceptable outcome for you or will only single-payer do ? >> It is a good step. I appreciate you trying that distinction. I want to make sure we have universal access. I want to drive down the cost. One audit I engaged in is a state comptroller was looking at a company that was providing advantage programs. They were charging the state over 80% profit. That is the type of excessive profits I'm trying to drive down out of the current system. >> Reporter: Let's look at tax reform. Are preparing an overhaul of the state's tax system. Right now it relies on wealthy taxpayers. As a result, it has put the state through the boom and bust cycles as the states economy. What are you proposing? >> Here is the framework. We want to push back against what president donald trump did to California, especially attacking the financial security, not recognizing housing prices, not recognizing income, other types of financial activity in the state. I want to make sure that as you pointed out, we bring in more stable healthy financial system that is sustainable to cover California's critical investments in education, healthcare, infrastructure. One that is not Robin Hood in reverse. We cannot have middle income people who are working really hard and making sure that we protect the billionaires. Throughout the United States of America. Taking our dollars and having it moved to other particular jurisdictions. >> Reporter: Let me ask you a couple of quick questions. Which attacks overhaul the revenue neutral. Would taxpayers see collectively an increase in taxes overall? >> That would be the design. Start off revenue neutral. I want to be straightforward and say I'm not trying to do any secret disguises are hidden motives. >> Reporter: Would you extend service tax to other services like haircuts ? >> yes we would look at that. We have a growth in digital activity and services. I don't want to scare people off in saying here is trying to increase taxes. By making revenue neutral, we could adjust the sales tax rate lower. >> Reporter: Would you support what progressives really want which is split role changing the way businesses pay property taxes more market rate value while allowing residents and homeowners to stick with the current prop 13 system? >> It is important within the system to address the abuses. You know you have bright tax accountants and tax lawyers who have figured out how to avoid the spirit of proposition 13 which is when you have a transfer of 50% +1 of ownership and property that it will be reassessed. I want to make sure that we cleanup the roles and the laws so that those types of abusive practices are no longer in existence going forward.

Democrat John Chiang believes he can strike a sweet spot in California politics: a political progressive who's fiscally prudent. The soft-spoken state treasurer, who previously served two terms as controller, said he's the candidate who can responsibly achieve liberal goals like single-payer health care while keeping California financially sound.