by William Bigelow
The differences and similarities between CA Governor Jerry Brown and his GOP opponent, former assistant secretary of the U.S. Treasury Neel Kashkari, can be summarized in this brief run-down of their public policy stances, as elucidated by the Orange County Register:
Where they agree: Both champion gay rights; abortion rights and favor a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who already live in the U.S. Both approve of Proposition 1, a $7.5 billion water infrastructure plan which Brown negotiated. Both want the California Environmental Quality Act reformed; Kaskari has knocked Brown for making exemptions for businesses that have political connections.
Where they differ is on high taxes, high-speed rail, the delta tunnels water project, carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, early prison releases, amnesty for illegal immigrants, and minimum wage hikes, all of which Brown supports and Kashkari opposes. One area of particularly stark difference is education, the Register notes:
Schools: Brown increased funding to schools with the highest proportion of low-income students, English-learners and foster children by relying on income tax increases on the wealthy and increasing the state sales tax. Has backed teachersâ€™ union in their efforts to preserve tenure. Kashkari wants to jettison Californiaâ€™s education code and send state funds directly to individual schools and remove many teacher tenure protections. He wants more charter schools.
Kashkari is eschewing taking hard-line conservative positions on social issues. He said:
There’s probably not a Republican nominee for dog catcher in America who has my profile: son of immigrants, pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, pro-immigration, Hindu. I mean, the number of warts I’ve got compared to the traditional checklist, and yet we got through the primary, and now we’ve solidly locked up the Republican base behind me. That’s really cool and I’m proud of that. I think we’re demonstrating a pathway in the future so that Republicans can run on economic issues and get people excited about them.
Kashkari is currently running 16 to 21 percentage points behind Brown and has only $1.2 million in his war chest; Brown has $23 million.