You Decide 2014 - Arizona Governor candidates: 10 questions for Christine Jones
Christine Jones appeared on FOX 10's Newsmaker Sunday program July 6, 2014.
1. What is the single biggest under-funded item in the Arizona state budget?
Excellence in education is critical to Arizona’s future. While we’ve seen that Arizona ranks somewhere between 44th and 47th out of the 50 states in education, we can significantly improve education in Arizona by spending our education funds more effectively. Currently, not enough money is making it to the classroom for instruction. Figures from the Auditor General's Office show that less than 54 cents out of every education dollar in Arizona was put into actual classroom spending. The national average is just below 62 cents per dollar. If we brought ours up to the national average that would make an immediate impact on the quality of education our students receive.
2. What is the single Arizona state budgeted program that should be cut or eliminated?
Before cutting or eliminating programs, I will work with the Auditor General to look at the performance measures for all state programs to see where we can be more efficient and streamline processes. My practiced understanding of technology is a significant distinguishing feature between me and the other candidates in this race and it’s one that voters should look at very seriously. Utilizing readily available technologies, whether it be a simple database solution or an efficiency that we can pick up by sharing information or reducing duplication of effort, will help our state government get to a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness.
3. If the public votes to support same sex marriage – as Governor, will you? I support traditional marriage, but if the public votes to support same sex marriage, I will respect that decision.
4. If the public votes to support recreational marijuana use – as Governor, will you? I do not support legalizing recreational marijuana, but much like the question above, if the public votes to support it, I will respect that decision.
5. Would you approve any state privileges (like a driver’s license), to undocumented immigrants? As Governor, I would not permit illegal immigrants access to public benefits because those benefits are paid for with taxpayer dollars. To the extent that policy changes can be made to remove illegal immigrants from taxpayer-funded programs then of course, as a Conservative, I would consider those changes.
6. Will you continue to fund the Department of Child Safety? Absolutely. Having spent ten years of my life advocating for the protection of children online, it’s my priority to ensure the most vulnerable members of our society, our children, are protected. However, as a technologist, I know we can make the Department of Child Safety more efficient, more effective, and less expensive by implementing technology solutions.
7. Would you work to cut or eliminate state income taxes? If we tax something we get less of it. The key to elevating Arizona’s economy is increasing personal incomes, so we need to keep income taxes as low as possible.
Personal income taxes generate roughly $3.5 billion annually to the state’s general fund. That is nearly one-third of our total net revenues supporting Arizona’s general obligations. If you propose to eliminate $3.5 billion of revenue, then you must explain specifically how you intend to replace it. Even assuming robust growth, there’s no way to replace $3.5 billion without significant new taxes, so those proposing its elimination must tell the public what those new taxes will be.
As a CPA who has actually looked at the numbers, I won’t promise immediate elimination of the income tax until I see how we can replace that revenue. However, it’s important to note that I was the first candidate in this race to sign American for Tax Reform’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge to not raise taxes as Governor.
8. How would you go about creating good jobs? Government doesn’t create jobs, but the government sets the stage for the private sector to create jobs. The most important thing the government can do with respect to job creation is to get out of the way of the private sector. Additionally, the government should commit to keeping taxes low, lowering them further where possible and competitively intelligent to do so, and provide as friendly a regulatory environment as possible.
After years of moving from place to place as a military family, my husband and I moved here in the ‘90s and knew we had finally found “home.” In late 2001, I was recruited to work for a startup technology company and for more than a decade, I helped grow Go Daddy from a few dozen employees to a company of about 4,000 employees, serving more than 10 million small businesses and entrepreneurs all over the world. Go Daddy is a true Arizona success story that can and should be replicated throughout the state.
As Governor, I will engage actively as the chief executive of the state and act as a compelling advocate for Arizona, its business climate and quality of life in order to bring new businesses and jobs to the state. I will continuously celebrate the good of our state and affirmatively approach CEOs in other states and help them understand the truth: that Arizona is their wisest choice. I know that Arizona can compete, that Arizona can lead, and that Arizona can be a model for economic growth because I have seen it firsthand. As Governor, I will be Arizona’s top advocate because I have personally lived the Arizona dream.
9. What is Arizona’s greatest asset? The rest of the country needs to know the truth about Arizona: this is a great state with an entrepreneurial spirit and so many incredible people!
10. What is your favorite getaway destination in the state? Having now traveled more than 35,000 miles around our state and visited all 15 counties, there are many places I’d like to return. At the moment I’d pick anywhere under 100 degrees!