tv Politico State Solutions Conference CSPAN February 7, 2020 8:30am-12:17pm EST
captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2008 >r f for thospkn spespent abourspent spr run for governor. r >> againp >> agains>>t 1 00 plus million dollars. >> lots of money. no debate there. looking at the presidential race we've seen popular candidates like senator kamala harris drop out because of money. do you think that's fair? >> well, first of all, i don't know if you remember, kamala harris raised a lot of money early on. one of the challenges -- and i know her, i think she's a terrific person and was a good
candidate. one of the challenges and i've said this to the presidential candidates who have come through illinois, either you're going to, you know, you're going to enter the race late and use the resources you have at that point if you can garner resources to shoot yourself into the middle of this, you know, of this exciting race late, or you got to bide your resources and bide your time early. here's what often happens. people get tired of the frontrunners after a little while. i think we all remember, you know, john kerry was back of the pack in 2004 until, you know, people got tired of the frontrunners. i think the frontrunners at that point were dean, gephardt, et
cetera. resources help a lot. you've seen all the commercials from bloomberg, all over the nation. look, resources help get the message out, there's no doubt about it, but it is the message that matters. it is what -- whether people connect with the message. i can tell you i ran in places in illinois and worked hard in places in illinois where democrats don't normally win. in fact the last democratic governor, pat quinn, won only cook county in 2014, right. that's where most of the vote, many of the votes are. you know, did okay. he lost that race, but he didn't win very many in the race before that. cook county being the big one for democrats. i went downstate in southern and central illinois all over the place into rural counties where democrats don't normally go and made the case -- some people said it was trump country i was
heading into. here's what the facts are. middle-class families have had their standards of living decline over the years, right. the cost of college has gone up, the cost of your health care has gop up, your wages are -- have. stagnant, and people are hurting. you have to address that issue on the ground. it can't be some lofty concepts about governing. this has to be like what are you doing for people who are hurting around the country and that is how you win. again, the message is what really matters. being able to raise money on-line. bernie sanders is not a wealthy person, but he's raised a ton of money on-line and so has elizabeth warren and so have others. that's how i think -- resources play a role here, but message is more important. >> does the democratic party as an establishment does that need to level the playing field. >> does the democratic party need to level the playing field? >> the dnc? >> i'm sorry?
>> the dnc? >> i'm not sure how the democratic party should engage in a primary to level the playing field. look, what i can say is i do not think iowa should go first. i mean, i thought that the day before. this isn't a new thought. some people saw that i tweeted out on the night of the iowa caucuses that illinois should go first. there's a reason not just because i'm from illinois and i believe in illinois, but we have the most diverse state that you can have for picking a presidential nominee. we have tech industry, we have agriculture, we have -- 75% of our territory in illinois is agriculture. we have rural, urban communities all over the state. we have every swath of different belief across the state of illinois. diversity matters, right. to have these states with no e
diversity come first and that's going to decide who is going to drop out. if you couldn't compete in one of the non-diverse early states you couldn't make it to the third or fourth or fifth state or super tuesday. seems like having a state like illinois that's much more representative of the united states -- by the way, the illinois republican party agrees with me and they've come out in favor of it. it is the right way to go. i think we're going to get it done, too. >> we're starting to run low on time but i got to get this one in too. you scored a lot of victories in your first year, but i think everybody sort of knows that corruption in illinois sort of touches everything, sort of looms over everything. there are federal investigations, aldermen whose offices have been raided in the last year and you tried to address some of this in your state of the state address last month and so -- but some of the
measures about disclosures seem like band-aids, nibbles at the bigger issue of corruption in the state. why not -- what needs to happen? is there something where maybe you sort of don't have the outside work, right, and pay lawmakers more? there are more radical ways probably but what needs to happen? >> first of all, i didn't just talk about it in the state of the state. i actually pushed legislation in our veto session which was in november for more lobbyist disclosure to make sure we know who the subcontractors are, who the businesses are that are behind the lobbyists, how much money they're giving so we can look at the collective of how much influence they are wielding on legislators. that's not something that's been available in illinois easily to the public or to the press. i want more transparency. that is how we're going to weed out corruption in my view. we have laws. look, the people that are being prosecuted are being prosecuted under laws that exist. you didn't know what they had a
conflict of interest. you didn't know that they were bribing or getting bribed and more disclosure is, in my view, a hugely important component of this, but i've called -- we have in illinois a legislator can also be a lobbyist. notes in the legislature, but you could lobby city governments, for example. you have a lot of influence if you're a legislator. that seems not right to me. we ought to get rid of it. i called for that. you might think, well, gee, we're behind other states. we are. we have to fix that. i called for that. i called to make sure that we have more disclosure so that, again, you can root out the conflicts of interest. i believe strongly that our legislature -- you know, one of the things that i think voters don't pay a lot of attention to is the amount of influence, again, that's being wielded upon
all these elected officials that nobody pays a lot of attention. i've been forthright about these are my views. when i come forward with views on issues, they're my views. i listen to everybody because, you know, i'm -- i like to think that i'm -- everybody likes to think you're right all the time, right. the truth of the matter is, you know, i'm confident about 90% i'm right and i know enough to think there's a 10% possibility that i could be wrong. i'm willing to listen because i want to get it right. that's something that i think, you know, that people are relying upon me to help push as we get ethics legislation done. we have an ethics commission in illinois. >> right. >> that we put together that is working hard, very judiciously now, so that we can have an ethics package that we can be proud of. >> well, thank you, illinois governor j.b. pritzker. thank you for being here and joining us for state solutions. what a great way to start the day. we covered a lot of issues.
welcome, help me join -- help me welcome to the stage anita kumar from politico and governor larry hogan of maryland. so thank you to darius and good morning, everyone. my name is anita kumar. i am a white house correspondent and associate editor at politico. i'm so glad to be joined by maryland governor larry hogan, who is also the chairperson of the national governors association this year. we have a lot of things i want to talk about so we're going to talk about the environment and the opioid epidemic and we're going to talk about security at
the polls and, of course, we'll talk a little bit about politics. let's go ahead and get started. >> good morning. >> good morning. >> so governor, there's a battle brewing between maryland and the epa over the chesapeake bay cleanup. you've expressed frustration with lack of progress in reducing pollution on the bay and epa's unwillingness to do anything about that. do you think that's because of trump administration is unwilling to go after pennsylvania in an election year? >> look, so the chesapeake bay is a national treasure that i've been focused on the whole five years that i've been governor, trying to focus on bay restoration and cleanup. we've invested $6 billion at the state level. the bay is now the cleanest it's been in recorded history. so maryland is doing everything it possibly can, but we're impacted by our upstream neighbors, pennsylvania and new york, particularly pennsylvania,
because of the susquehanna river flows down from pennsylvania, dumps right into the chesapeake bay, and pennsylvania has not been doing its fair share. the epa has not been enforcing federal law to require pennsylvania -- >> why do you think that is? >> i don't know why pennsylvania is not doing what they're supposed to do and i don't know why the epa is not requiring them to do what they do. we're now in the process of considering legal action against the state of pennsylvania and against the epa to enforce federal law and require that both of them do their fair share to clean up the bay. we also -- i am the chairman of the six-state regional commission which includes pennsylvania and five other states. we work together -- virginia is working closely with us. pennsylvania, for whatever reason, is not living up to the commitments at the federal level and we've been pushing back very
hard against the trump administration on the cuts to the federal funding in the chesapeake bay which we've been successful in restoring funding the past couple years and hopefully we will do it again this year. >> you don't think it's politics, though? >> i hate to, you know, figure out why pennsylvania is not living up or why the epa is not enforcing. i'm sure there's politics involved, but i think it's just a difference of opinion about the importance of the chesapeake bay and the clean water and we're going to make sure that we just get both of them to do their job. >> yeah. you actually -- i think the epa is saying that it would backfire, your lawsuit and what you're trying to do, would backfire and make it worse, the chesapeake bay? >> i don't think that's true. >> you don't think that's true? they just have a difference of opinion? >> look, it's -- this really is an important body of water and we've got a federal agreement that we've been working on for years and the law is the law and we're going to try to make sure they follow the law. >> your administration has also
opposed epa's air regulation and clean water act rollbacks. we've seen the epa go after the state of california, who has really pushed back on a lot of things. do you think that the state of maryland is going to be targeted by the trump administration the way california is? are you worried about that? >> i don't know that we're going to be targeted. i think we have a little difference of opinion sometimes on clean water and clean air. in maryland, i've pushed and we've implemented tougher clean air standards than 48 other states that are nearly twice as strong as the paris accord recommendations, and we're going to continue to enforce those. we've done that while growing our economy and having the biggest economic turnaround in america and, you know, we think you can do both, you can grow the economy and protect the environment at the same time. >> okay. let's move on to another issue. deaths from opioid overdoses are decreasing
decreasi decreasing in maryland but in baltimore they are increasing. what needs to change about your approach in baltimore, particularly as fentanyl becomes more potent and is mixed with cocaine? >> yeah. so this is a terrible crisis in america. it's not just in baltimore or just in my state of maryland. but when i was first running for governor in 2014, i started to hear from people all across the state about the opioid crisis, long before most people were focused on it. as soon as i game governor in january of 2015, i declared a state of emergency. i was the first governor in america to do so. we've invested about $800 million in trying to focus on this issue and really we've been pretty successful in driving down prescription opioid abuse and deaths. we've done a great job on bringing heroin deaths and all opioid deaths across the state, with the exception of fentanyl in baltimore city.
this is just a much more dangerous drug and it's -- while we've made -- had some success across the state, i think more so than many other states, baltimore city continues to be a difficult area. the drug trade is big. gang trafficking. it's something we're continuing to focus on, assistings the city. but this is something that really is tearing apart, you know, families and communities from one end of the country to the other and it's killing far too many of our citizens. we're attacking it from all directions. it's going to take an all hands on deck approach. everybody has to work together to solve this crisis. >> do you feel like there needs to be a change in how you approach what's happening in baltimore? >> we've thrown everything we can possibly think of at the problem, but we've got to get the city of baltimore and the federal government and community organizations and really it's going to take everybody to try to solve this issue. i mean it's killing far too many people. >> the racial gap has also shown up in the fight against hiv.
new hiv diagnoses in baltimore have declined, primarily due to lower numbers of infections among white residents and women. black residents experience higher hiv rates. how is your administration trying to close that gap? >> i'm really proud of the fact that we've driven hiv rates down to the lowest levels since 1986, which i think is better than almost any state in america. i'm proud of the fact that we've made real success. i'm not pleased with the fact that there's a gap, but i'm not sure, you know, that we're responsible for the fact that there's a gap but we're going to continue to focus on trying to make sure that we can address this in every part of our state and every community. we've made tremendous success. we're going to keep working on it. >> medical marijuana is legal in maryland, but recreational marijuana is not and you've ipd katsds in the past that there's been significant problems with implementing the medical marijuana program. what are some of those problems? >> it wasn't set up very well. i supported the medical
marijuana. it happened actually right before i became governor under the previous governor, was passed by the legislature and the law just wasn't written very well, so they've had difficulty in awarding the licenses. there was some concerns about, you know, the way it was implemented. it's finally starting to happen and it's, you know, it's getting straightened out. there's some debate back and forth in our legislature about the possibility of legalization, but it doesn't look as if that's going to move forward any time soon. >> recreational marijuana or -- >> yeah. >> you don't -- that's not going to happen this year? >> the legislature said they're not going to bring that up this year. >> i see. homelessness has been in decline in maryland. do you have any advice for the other governors in states like california and oregon that are really suffering with this problem right now? >> that's a tough problem. i mean i'm really, again, pleased -- and thank you for saying all these -- almost every question starts with -- hiv
rates are down, opioids are down, homelessness is down, only thing that is up are jobs and businesses and the economy. thank you. we've been working hard on it and a big part of it is just, you know, trying to provide opportunities for people. it's a lot that has to do with the drug treatment and the mental health investments and, you know, providing housing opportunities and job training and, you know, helping returning citizens that are coming out of, you know, being incarcerated. all those things help. but yeah, i just got back, we just did an nga infrastructure summit in san francisco with governor gavin newsom was our host and they have a tremendous homelessness problem in california and san francisco in particular, which i got to witness up close and personal -- >> did you talk to him about it? >> talked to him about it. he has serious concerns about it and they're working hard to try to address it. i don't have a specific -- i know they're working hard at it but they've certainly got bigger
issues and problems than we have in our state. >> what do you think about the trump administration or really the president's thought that you could use police officers to sort of round up the homeless people? >> i think, you know -- i don't know the details of what the president has said or proposed to do about that, but the governor of the state is pretty frustrated with what's going on with the city of san francisco, as are others, and they have to figure out what to do. you want to be compassionate about people who are in that situation and they find themselves homeless, but it's ruining the quality of life for people in san francisco. it's keeping people from going there, and it's becoming a health crisis. >> what if president trump had said he wanted to use police officers or -- in maryland, what would you say to that? >> we don't have the problem in maryland so he wouldn't have said that. >> you mentioned infrastructure. i know that's something that you've been focused on as chairman of the nga and you've
traveled all over the world, i think, talking about that, and yet, republicans and democrats you talk to all say they want to spend money on infrastructure and yet, nothing seems to get done with that. there's been a lot of people talking about how the federal gas tax is an outdated system to fund those -- to fund infrastructure. how would you had modernize the financing and what would you use to pay for infrastructure? >> sure. so america's crumbling infrastructure is something that i think nearly everyone has been talking about wanting to address and everybody says it's a priority. you hear the trump administration say it's a priority, both republicans and democrats in congress have said it's a priority. all of my colleagues, the governors on both sides of the aisle all across all 50 states have said this is one of their most important issues. yet, we haven't really seen much action here in washington. governors, on the other hand, have to actually move forward and do transit prompts and roads
and bridges and tunnels, anyway, even without that action and so we've had to get kind of creative and do things that are maybe outside the box. i, as the chairman of nga, had the opportunity to pick an initiative to focus on for the year-long chairmanship and i picked rebuilding america's infrastructure. we've got -- while you don't have 100% agreement among all the folks on both sides of the aisle we do agree it's the most important priority. i've been holding infrastructure summits all across america and a few internationally where we're trying to get the best ideas from the governors who are doing good things, from the private sector, from academia, from various levels of governments and non-profits to say what are all the possible solutions, let's lay them out there, and see which things work in which states and what kinds of recommendations can we make to see if we can't get some action in washington. gas taxes are one possible solution, although we're trying to get people to stop using gas
so it's a declining revenue. we're moving to electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells, so you can't finance the future on something you're trying to get people to stop doing. we're -- in maryland currently we have 800 transportation projects currently understand construction weste're fixing ev road and bridge and tunnel in the state. we're building the purple line here in the washington suburbs. i just approved the largest p-3 highway project in the world which is to fix the capital beltway and i-270 surrounding washington. those are -- we're using the gas tax revenue to fix our roads and bridges and the other ones are using private sector investment, there's billions of dollars, which is one of the possible solutions for some states to also make sure we get these things done, even though there's no action? washington and no federal fungd. >> right. >> besides the gas tax is there
something else you are recommending to leaders in washington? >> so to allow the flexibility to encourage the states to make decisions like we're doing and other states are doing, to encourage private sector investment, in australia -- we just did a trip to australia, where nearly all of their infrastructure is being done by private sector investment. you have like, for example, public employee union pension funds that are investing and building the roadsp and bridges and tunnels in australia. they have almost no debt. they're not raising taxes and building infrastructure at a much greater rate than we are here in america. >> let's turn to the 2020 election. as you know russia interfered in the 2016 election. is there something that you are working on in maryland for the 2020 election to safeguard the polls on election day? >> well, it's a concern. we -- our state board of elections, which is independent of the governor, as it should
be, is -- we've been putting money and investing in technology and safeguards and having our i.t. folks provide all the assistance, our homeland security folks working with the federal government and state agencies to make sure that we have as many protections as possible. it's something i think every state and every governor is trying to keep a close eye on. we certainly don't want to have, you know, the kind -- even when you're not talking about interference, we don't want to have computer glitches and errors like we just had in iowa with the democratic caucus. >> disinformation is another problem as well. is there something you can do on the state level to prevent disinformation or is that more of a federal issue? >> yeah. that's a good question. i know there's some discussion back and forth about that and, you know, you run into issues about freedom of speech and who determines what the disinformation is because there's disinformation coming from all sides, in both directions. when you start deciding who can say what and who is actually
providing disinformation and real information, it gets difficult. >> you don't think the technology companies should do more? >> i think they probably can and should do more. i'm just not sure what the solutions are at the state level. >> okay. speaking of elections, you considered running for the republican nomination for president against president trump. you made some headlines when you were thinking about that. you decided not to. do you regret that decision? >> well, first of all, i wasn't really thinking much about it. there were -- after i was re-elected in maryland -- maryland by the way has the highest percentage of democratic voters of any state in america, 40% minority, so to have a republican re-elected, only the second one in 243 years, was sort of a strange occurrence and people started paying attention and started saying how does a republican, you know, win the women vote and the minority, you do so well among black voters and suburban voters.
people started talking to me and pressuring me. i never made any kind of moves to actually consider it. i just didn't think there was a path to victory in the republican primary against a president that continues to have so much support in his -- among his primary base. >> you still believe that? >> i still believe that he's pretty strong among his base supporters. i think there probably are an awful lot of people in america who are -- who probably would agree with a lot of the things i've been saying and doing that are more moderate, more kind of middle of the road that are somewhat frustrated with both, you know, the far right and the far left, the relationship and democratic party, but the way our system works, the process you have to go through is a very difficult way to go through a nominating process. >> right. obviously you're a governor and nga chair. what kind of relationship, if any, do you have with president trump? do you feel like you can call him up? are you seeing him this weekend? do you talk? >> as a matter of fact, he will be speaking at a dinner tonight
where i will be there, meeting him ahead of time as the chair of nga, and then i'll be sitting next to him at the white house dinner on sunday night and he introduces me and i have to do a toast. we'll see how that goes. >> over sort of the last months or year, do you talk to him really? >> you know, we go to the white house every year. >> right. >> for dinner and then an all-day session with the president and the cabinet and senior staff and i did that every year with president obama and president trump, and he's always been very cordial and his staff has been good to work with. even though we sometimes disagree and i'm one of those republicans be who's not afraid to stand up and say when i disagree, i'm not out attacking the president personally, and he's been cordial and friendly when i see him. he's not tweeting about me and we just -- we'll agree to disagree sometimes. >> you called for his impeachment in october.
do you -- you know, obviously the impeachment ended this week. did you think the republicans made the right decision in not having witnesses at his trial? >> back in october on national public television i had an interview with margaret hoover and what i said was, i was really concerned about the behavior and i thought there was potential wrongdoing, i didn't like any of the things i was hearing about the phone call that took place, and i thought we needed to get to the facts. i thought we needed to have a fair and objective hearing to get to those facts. you know, my dad was in congress and on the judiciary committee during the impeachment of richard nixon, and he was the very first republican to come out for impeachment. but he also was the only guy fighting the entire time for a fair and objective hearing, and he was fighting to make sure that president had the right to call witnesses and cross examine witnesses and provide a defense and only after seeing all the
evidence and the federal courts forced them to provide the tapes and he saw the tapes with the evidence that, you know, he was on tape, you know, talking about bribing witnesses, that's when he came out and made that decision. i said, we ought to have the hearing, but only if it can be fair and objective and i didn't think that that was possible in this environment in the middle of an election year, that i thought the democrats in the house had already decided before the hearings that the president should be impeached and i didn't think it was going to be fair and objective and i thought the republicans in the senate were not going to be fair and objective, that no matter what the facts were -- and pretty much exactly what i said in october is what happened. i'm very frustrated that -- i don't think the house process was fair and objective and i don't think the senate was, and i think, you know, it's over. i think the people -- most people in america are after three years kind of sick and tired of hearing about it and i
don't think congress did their job, but the american people will. i have nmore faith in the american people make that decision in november. >> should they have had witnesses? would that have been more fair? >> the republicans should have been able to call witnesses in the house trial, it should have gone to the judiciary committee and they should have had witnesses in the senate. neither one of those things happened. the whole process was kind of a sham and a joke. >> so we're running out of time and i wanted to make sure to ask you, there was a special primary election this week to replace the late congressman cummings and obviously the election will be in april. >> right. >> president trump has put obviously baltimore in the spotlight by criticizing it talking about how it's rat infested, rodent infested. what kind of leader do you think baltimore needs right now? who should replace -- what kind of person should replace congressman cummings? >> we really need -- i attended congressman cummings funeral.
he was a great leader. we had a terrific relationship. baltimore city really needs leadership, not only do they need a great representative in congress, but, you know, they need city leaders and representatives in the legislature and the city council and they have tremendous problems and we're trying to provide all the support we can but they need to step up and they have problems continuing to get worse. i'm not the mayor of baltimore. i'm not the local representative. i can only do so far from annapolis. the people of baltimore need to step up and decide who should be leading the city. i think the primary -- it's a democratic district, it's likely that democratic nominee is going to be the congress person. i don't want to discount the republican nominee. we're going to have an election in november to see. then there's -- there's two elections going on actually. we have a good republican nominee as well. i think infume won the
nomination, i have tremendous respect for him, did a great job when he was a congressman and he was the chairman of the naacp and longtime friend of elijah cummings and known each other for 42 years and i think he was probably the best pick for the democrats -- >> sounds like an endorsement? >> i have to say, you know, i think it's going to be great race between the republican and democrat, but i think -- had i been voting in the democratic primary he would have been my pick. >> okay. well, i think we're out of time, unfortunately. i really appreciate your coming and talking to us about a variety of things, the epa and the opioid crisis and, of course, elections and so i really want to thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> thank you all very much. >> please join -- please join me in welcoming to the stage politico steven sheperd along with governor asa hutchinson of arkansas.
>> i'm going to do my best impersonation here. he is, of course, out and about covering politics and i think stuck somewhere in an airport, so i've agreed to step in for steven and we're thrilled to have governor hutchinson here to join us at state solutions and talk a little bit about the state of the economy, politics, trade, everything else. it's not like there's anything going on in the news these days that has been happening in washington. anyway, i am ben white, chief economic correspondent for politico joined by governor asa hutchinson, republican first elected in 2014, re-elected in 2018. prior to winning the governorship he served as a congressman, dea administrator and undersecretary in the department of homeland security during george w. bush's administration. thank you, governor, for joining us at state solutions. we have a lot to cover, so let's get started. i thought we would start with trade and talk a little bit about the phase one china trade deal. trade is obviously special
concern in arkansas where agriculture and manufacturing are crucial. what are you hearing from manufacturers and exporters and farmers about the phase one trade deal side last month by trump and the chinese vice premier? how are people reacting to that and are they happy with the terms? >> very positively, we're reacting to phase one trade agreement. let me put it in perspective. arkansas, first of all, is the home of walmart international company which has huge investments in china, big market for them, tyson's food from arkansas is in china, but also we're -- we produce 50% of the rice produced in the united states of america comes from arkansas. the world market for soybeans and rice is very important to our state. we were hurt by the long negotiations that led up to the phase one agreement and the retaliatory tariffs that were imposed. i was a consistent message that
we need to get back to normalized trade, but, you know, the president was very successful in having a tough stance there and what we're excited about in phase one is the commitment to buy u.s. agricultural products and to enhance that and that market for pork products, for our poultry and for our rice, we're ready to go. we're very optimistic about it. obviously we would like to see us move to phase two, but the coronavirus is a serious issue we're concerned about, but we're optimistic and applaud the president for phase one. >> i wonder the extent to which soybean farmers were hurt in arkansas and the extent to which that can be made up. obviously it's a significant hit that was taken and, you know, there was some federal government bailout money given to farmers. how much damage was done?
>> significant damage. you know, the -- our gdp in arkansas is impacted by the farm economy and while we did get facilitation payments to the farmers which are, as you said, bailout, but they call them facilitation payments, they do not cover all the losses, and so the loss is more severe than that, but i was very impressed with the farmers as to how they knew this was an important negotiation with china, trying to get it right. they're survivors and used to hard times, but we need to have the world market open to the united states, which means that we feed to have our market open to them as well, so in the end we need to get back to lower zero tariffs, low tariffs, that's what we want, that's what we need, we need to figure out how to get there. >> are you at all hopeful there could be a phase two china deal this year? i have no reason to believe that
there really can be, that we've gotten to this point of detente with china on increasing tariffs, but it's unlikely that prior to the election that we could get another deal with them, a broader deal, that would get rid of the existing tariffs that are still there? >> i think it would be tough to get it done this year under normal circumstances, and then with the coronavirus that's there, that they're dealing with, that we hope they get resolved very quickly, that's going to be a drag on their economy and a challenge for them to make the purchases that they might need more time, so i think that we have to see how that carrys out and move quickly to phase two. with the length of time it took to get to phase one, i don't think we're going to get there this year and we're not expecting it. >> we're going to talk about health care in a minute but i want to stick on china and the coronavirus and the extent to
which you think the u.s. is doing enough to help the chinese respond and if there's more that we could be doing, what is it? >> i just tried to imagine the extent of this challenge. the second leading economy in the world is being isolated, and whenever you look at the goods that are on the shelves of our store that are produced in china, that, you know, we're talking about the cruise ships, the airplanes that are not going back and forth to china, but also, how about the container ships? you know those are going to be slowed down. some might be put into quarantine. so it's going to have a significant impact whenever you isolate such a large part of the global economy. and then you're going to see a shift from china already under the retaliatory tariffs we've experienced, some of the manufacturing is shifting to vietnam or mexico or other places.
some of it comes to the united states, but primarily it's going to be a shift from china and the manufacturing space. this is a real challenge to the economy in china. >> yeah. >> what should we do? we need to give all the support that we can to get a handle on the coronavirus. we have to protect our shores and our people. we also want to helps to the extent that we can, china do everything that we can to help them to get through this crisis and their own economy and with their own health care system. >> yeah. all right. let's turn to health care in the united states for a minute. the trump administration has rolled out a new way for states to receive medicaid dollars called the healthy adult opportunity waivers which are basically block grants. will arkansas be applying for these grants? >> this is just one of those things that the states have been talking about forever that we want more flexibility in the delivery of our medicaid health care services and to manage our
environment. we think we can do it well. guess what? the trump administration said yes to what we've been asking for. >> all right. >> and so we actually have been given more flexibility and arkansas is one of those states we are a medicare expansion state and we have the unique arkansas works, which is where they take the medicaid dollars and they buy insurance on the private marketplace and so it helps us with the cost of insurance. in arkansas, obviously expanded health care in our state. but we do -- we would like to see more flexibility to the states to manage this very high-cost item for us, not cut services, but just to manage well so that we can stretch the dollars as far as we can, make it unique to arkansas and our delivery of health care. right now you have to have standards that are based upon
california and new york and a state like arkansas. well, give us more flexibility. >> right. >> so we will be pursuing and looking at the opportunity for a block grant for the expanded medicaid population. based upon the guidelines that we're continuing to review that the trump administration has put forth. can i elaborate just a little bit more? >> you can. i would like to interrupt you with a bunch of questions, but elaborate a little more and then i'll -- >> i just think that the health care is going to be a major issue as we -- and it should be a major issue -- that we go into this year. with the president addressing health care in the state of the union address, with the fact that the supreme court will have before it a decision on the constitutionality of the affordable care act, and with the fact of the current block grant waiver possibility for the
states, i think we need to be prepared for significant changes based upon what the supreme court says and based on what the states do with a block grant approach. >> would you take another run at work grants for the medicaid recipients or another way to reshape the arkansas works program in your state? >> we have a work requirement for abled body medicaid recipients in arkansas with exemptions if they have any disabilities or they have minor children at home, but there is a requirement similar to what the snap requirements are, that if you're abled bodied you have to be able to work or be in worker training or to be volunteering for a community organization. i think it's the right thing to do. that has been struck down by the d.c. district court. it's currently awaiting a decision by a three-judge panel. once that decision is in, we'll see what happens there.
we're committed to that. we believe it's the right thing to do. we want to be able to get it shaped in the way that can withstand any judicial review. >> got you. let's talk about infrastructure, which is something that, you know, is constantly brought up in d.c. and it's infrastructure week every week, but we never actually do anything about it or spend any money on it. i wonder to what extent, you know, you're seeing the need for more infrastructure spending in arkansas and whether, you know, there are ways to pay for it other than a federal gas tax? what do we do about the state of infrastructure? particularly in your state? >> well, the states get tired of waiting on the federal government to act on an infrastructure plan that we've been talking about from the obama administration into the trump administration, and so the states are moving on. the highway needs, the maintenance needs, the growth needs are very significant, so in our last legislative session we passed a historic highway
funding bill that raised from state dollars more money for our highway infrastructure, for our bridge maintenance as well. we'll have on the ballot this year an extension of a half cent sales tax that will all go to highways. >> right. >> so we have shaped our own future in terms of investment. we would still like to see the federal government -- and i hope they can come back to it this year, come back to an infrastructure plan, and it can be somewhat modest as compared to what some of the large numbers in the last couple years they've talked about, but if you give us any leverage where you'll put federal -- additional federal dollars into infrastructure, matched by state dollars, arkansas, will be in a very good position. >> right. >> we hope that they can come back to it at the federal level. >> we're going to run short on time and i want to talk a little bit about refugees, but let's just jump to impeachment for a minute since obviously it's
topic on everybody's minds and we finally have gotten through the trial and the acquittal of the president on impeachment charges. you, of course, served as a house manager during the clinton impeachment era. i wonder, you know, what it was like going through that, knowing that there wasn't going to be -- there wasn't public support for the removal of president clinton from office and then obviously he was not removed from office. what was it like watching the trump impeachment, given your experience as a house manager in the clinton impeachment? >> well it was somewhat nostalgic in the sense that i've been through that 20 years ago and i understand what it's like to present that case to the united states senate and at the same time, the more the impeachment trial went on, the more i realized how different it was than what we did 20 years ago. both in terms of the tone -- you know, it's always a partisan
time when you go through that process but this elevated it, sadly, to a new standard of partisanship. but what we've learned in history is that, you know, the charges 20 years ago was lying, perjury, lying under oath and obstruction of justice. the united states senate said that doesn't reach the bar, the high bar that american public expect, to remove a president. that caused me early on to understand that what the house came out with, was not reaching that high bar. i thought senator alexander really expressed it well, where he didn't excuse all the conduct of the president, but those are the kind of issues that are resolved in elections. >> right. >> but it does not reach that high standard that our founding fathers envisioned.
i am delighted that it's over with and i think we really need to turn the page quickly. that includes the president's focus as well as congress' focus. >> i do wonder whether -- what you think about the underlying conduct and the allegations made against him, particularly with regard to the ukraine being dependent into an investigation into vice president biden and this is obviously behavior that has to give you some concern, if not reaching the level of high crimes and misdemeanors? >> sure. i mean i think that's fair in the sense of it was not a perfect call. you know, wisdom says that if you've got allegations of corruption, i think that can be handled through the attorney general, particularly whenever it involves somebody that is in the political realm. no, it wasn't a perfect call and
that's an issue that people can look at differently. i look at it with a critical eye. but it's certainly not an impeachable offense and i think that's what senate found clearly. >> let's talk about refugees for a second. you've defended your decision to continue to accept new refugees into arkansas which basically goes against the republican party's basic stance on the issue lately. under a new trump administration order state and local governments have the final say on this. what made you break from some neighboring governors on this, like greg abbott in texas? >> well, i looked at the security and the safety of the arkansans and when i looked at the increased vetting process that trump administration put into place, when i looked at the shift of priorities where it's those that have cooperated with u.s. authorities overseas in places like iraq and afghanistan, and then those that are under religious persecution and then i looked at the number that's coming in, i said
arkansas historically, whether it's a vietnamese refugees or welcoming others that are coming to our shores to seek freedom, they're coming in a legal way, and i said it's the right thing to do. so with all of the research, i looked at it very carefully, and i said, you know, we should continue to accept those refugees. we're doing that and i'm proud of arkansas and the way that they have made sure that they are assimilated into our society as a new legal immigrant should be. >> yeah. i wonder if you could tell us just a little bit about what your relationship is like with president trump? i'm sure you're going to see him this week while you're in town for the nga and go to the white house for dinner. if you, you know, make a call to the oval office, does he pick up and talk to you about so i beyb in arkansas? he does. i've never seen a president
that's more responsive, not only the president but his administration reaching out to the states, so he's very receptive to us and he listens. but also my conversation with him is, keep up the great work. i mean what he's done and the way he's stuck with it on the trade issues and usmca. what he's done in terms of deregulation, giving the states more flexibility, in terms of h the economy. these are extraordinary accomplishments and hats off to him and keep up the good work. if we've learned anything from president trump is listen to what he says because, you know, whether it's moving the capitol in israel or whether it is a new trade agreement, words matter. and both in the negative sense and positive sense. but whenever he says he's committed to making sure that we honor pre-existing conditions
and health care, that's gospel for me. and so i applaud him. we have a good relationship and a very honest relationship. >> yeah. how confident into he wins re-election? >> well, today very confident. i think what we've seen in the last couple of months in washington, d.c. has been bad for the democrats. i think it has strengthened the republican base and rallied it around president trump. but not just the republican base but when you're looking in swing states and independents, they just don't like what has happened. and i think the key ingredient for re-election between now and november is the jobs, the economy and that these trade agreements actually result in good news for manufacturing here in the united states. it was great news that, you know, our trade imbalance for
the first time in a decade has been reduced. that's going in the right direction and that's because of a stronger term policy. >> let's talk about 2022 for a second. there's a republican in arkansas who might be running for governor then, someone named sarah huckabee-sanders. i wonder what you think about the possibility of her running for that office? >> well, sarah is very wise. and appreciate the fact she has said -- that's three years off and i've got three years more work to do so she's given me that latitude -- >> she's not trying to>> you off. >> exactly. i think the world of sarah, but she's really enjoying herself. she's got some national opportunities, but i'm deleted that her home is in arkansas. >> and i'm going to let you go but i do want to just get your sense for who you think the democrats are going to nominate.
it does seem like such a mess obviously after iowa and what we saw -- we're going to see coming out of there in terms of results and now looks like it could be warren, buttigieg, sanders. do you have a pick on the democratic side who you think is going to run against the president? >> i wouldn't be crazy enough to pick one, but i would tell you in arkansas on our primaries is on what march 3, the super tuesday of southeast day of primaries that we've had mayor bloomberg has a very big presence. he's been in arkansas three times. we've had the biden campaign coming in, and he's very strong in our minority community as well as with the democratic base. so they're making a strong play for arkansas. so i pay attention to those that
watch them on the super tube. >> and last thing is bloomberg. bloomberg is fascinating to me and i spend a lot of time talking with wall street and they're a little bit more bullish on the idea he could actually pull this thing off by gathering delegates on super tuesday and perhaps the rest of the field is splintered enough he can make it happen. are you an idea in the idea mike bloomberg could emerge as the democratic nominee? >> i think this is a pilot test as whether you can skip all the other preliminaries and just dump a huge amount of money into various states. i think it's almost ufec unique to mike bloomberg so i think he's somebody to watch and could
pull it off under the right circumstances. >> do you be a relationship with him? >> chactually i do. when i was homeland security in the bush administration he say mayor of new york. we worked together on some security issues so i know him. but i don't agree with his policies, and they're not very popular in arkansas particularly whenever he comes after the second amendment. >> right, so gun policy maybe not a huge winning issue for bloomberg in arkansas. >> and soda pop policy. >> right and soda pop policy. let's thank the governor for joining us. really appreciate it. it was great to have you and great to have the conversation. and you can head that way. i'm going to stick around we're going to do a little economic briefing who's going to join me on stage and i'll give you a little bit of insight to what i see happening in the u.s. economy and around the world and china and trade and the rest of it and you guys can ask questions. so here we go.
>> i'm senior producer and i'm so excited to join my colleague ben white for a briefing on the top economic issues that are trending as we go into the 2020 presidential campaign, and we'll also delve a little into how these issues are relevant in certain states. we're going to start out talking about the u.s. and china trade relations. so you all know back in december u.s. and china signed off on a preliminary trade deal that has ceased some of the tensions but there's still a long way to go. so, how do you see these tensions playing out on the campaign trail? >> i thought it was interesting to talk to the governor about that because obviously the trade war with china has had an impact and certainly an impact on manufacturing numbers. we saw five months in a row of manufacturing in decline. finally got back up the 50
number in the ism which is good that is coming back a little bit. we obviously got a great jobs number today. there's a lot of stuff trending in the right direction in the economy. but there's no question that this trade war with china had a negative impact and has had a negative impact on the u.s. economy and slowed, you know, the growth rate and will be an issue on the campaign trail in 2020. i'm not entirely clear the democrats have the right solution to counter president trump's arguments on trade. he can campaign on the fact he got a phase one deal done. it may be a return to the status quo of before it was done. in fact, not even that since there's still hundreds of millions of dollars of tariffs on a lot of u.s. exports and
chinese imports but, you know, the democratic party is largely supportive of unions and topping on fair trade with china. i think he can now say he got usmca done, phase one done and generally the economic numbers look strong so i'm not sure how big a negative it's going to be for him come election time. >> do you think trump will feel under pressure to reach a deal with china because the election is fast approaching? do you think that goes into the political calculation in terms of reaching a deal? >> well, i think he's happy to have gotten a first piece of it done. it was really critical for him to do that. it could not go into the election with not having a -- you know, reduced the tensions with china. the chinese side obviously now with the coronavirus another major issue to deal with, but
their economy has slowed significantly. they could not afford to keep ratcheting up tariffs. trump could not afford to keep ratcheting up tariffs. there's almost no way we get from phase one to phase two in an election year. i think both sides are just happy to hit the pause button on not increase the level of tariffs not go to consumer goods, which the big risk in the united states was, you know, we were going to have significantly increased tariffs on everything we all buy at wal-mart and everywhere else in terms of consumer electronics and every product you buy at a lot of these stores. that didn't happen. but there is really, i don't think, much political room for either side to move onto this broader, grander agreement that would fundamentally alter the way the chinese run their economy. this is what the administration ultimately wants, a lot of china hawks ultimately want which is stopping state subsidies, stopping, you know, a government
backed economic system. and then there's intellectual property theft and forced technology transfer, which a couple of those things are in the phase one deal. whether or not the chinese actually make the changes they promise is an open question. they've promised these things many times before and have not followed through on them. but i would give a 0% chance on a phase one deal happening between now and november. >> jobs are growing, the unemployment rate is at a record low. the stock market is booming. are there any warning signs the economy might not be doing as well as the numbers indicate? anything's gnat underlined we're just now getting the full picture of? >> the economy is fine. i mean it's -- we're at a 2.3% growth rate. we had a good i think it was 225,000 jobs created today. the unemployment went up for a
good reason which is people rejoining the labor force. some people think an increase in the labor force and think oh, god we're moving in the wrong direction. that's not what's happening. 36 is a great number. i think trump's in a strong position on the economy. there are soft spots in it. he's talked about this blue collar boom and manufacturing renaissance which he talked about in the "state of the union" and it hasn't really happened if you look at growth of manufacturing across the united states has not been terrific mc terrific. it's been a consumer drivenchy. wages are rising at a pretty decent pace. so, you know, i would say it's definitely a tail wind for him and a reason he could win again. and again i think the democrats are having a hard time figuring out exactly what their argument
is on the economy and what they would do differently and obviously they're focused on economic inequality which is growing and a massive issue and something that needs to be addressed and democrats are talking about a great deal with different ideas on a wealth tax, different ways to try and address that income gap. but it is tough to be an incumbent running for re-election in an economy that has 3.6% unemployment that is growing basically at trend line growth. you know, it's not like bill clinton in 1996 when we were above, you know, 4% and really kind of roaring and the tech boom was happening. so it's not a roaring economy although the president will say that it is, that it's the greatest we've ever had, and it's not. but it's good, and it's probably good enough to help him win. >> got it. so many would say that trump's greatest legislative achievements was in 2017 with the passage of the corporate tax
cuts. and there's thought that the white house is planning to rollout additional tax cuts right in the middle of the presidential campaign. what do we know about the expected tax cuts? >> tax cuts 2.0, which i was sort of surprised not to see specifically detail in the "state of the union." i did think and some people both in treasury and the white house talked a bit about their hopes for descriptions of specific middle class tax cuts that the president might have brought up in the "state of the union." he didn't do that. but i do think that between new and november there will be some rollout of a plan to slash middle class tax rates and to reduce the number of tax brackets. this is a larry kudlow project he's very keen on and others are. and they know that as you mentioned the 2017 tax cuts jobs act was the biggest kind of legislative thing the administration did, and it slashed the corporate tax rate and gave other incentives to
businesses to invest, and unfortunately ewe haven't seen that increase in business investment that we hope for from a lot of the slashing of tax rates and other ways they kind of twist the dials. but they know it's not usually popular politically because it was tipped towards corporations and the wealthy that need to at least propose something directly aimed at the middle class. i think you'll hear him talk about it and i think he's chomping at the bit to run against somebody like sanders or warren, talking about raising taxes in order to pay for giant new government programs. so, yes, you'll see him talk about middle class tax cuts at some point but then we run into the problem that you have a trillion dollar deficit we are now running every year. and we've increased the deficit
during an economic expansion which is not something you want to do. so i think they'll talk about tax cuts on the middle class. and then we'll see who wins the election and where we go from there. >> as you mentioned the economy is going really strong but there are still pockets of the country that are lagging behind, that are not benefitting from this widespread economic boom. so can you tell us a bit more about where these pockets are and why is it they're still lagging behind, that they just can't seem to catch up with the rest of the country? >> yeah, sure. we don't have an evenly kind of shared economic prosperity and growth. we have great, you know, growth in places like new york and california, and we have some in the midwest. there's been some increase in the manufacturing jobs although the overall manufacturing numbers are not that terrific. you know, there's lots of reasons why there's education
issue and the mismatching of skills to jobs that are open. there are employers everywhere who want to hire people and are desperate to hire people. there's a war for talent everywhere in a tight labor market like this. but there's not always in some of the states, particularly in the rust belt where there are not the proper candidates to take on the jobs that are there. so i'm sure we'll have other governors talking about solutions to this. and everywhere i go people talk about skills training and how we get the work force we need for the jobs that exist. but it is -- part of the reason we have such economic inequality, there are people who have achieved high levels of education or are getting really good jobs in a variety of different industries, but then there are, you know, a broad swath of the country that hasn't
gotten ahead in the ways that, you know, some of us -- the lead circles have done. so that is, you know, obviously an animated thing of the democratic primary. it will be an issue in the general election, you know, regardless of who the nominee is. they will say, look, this economy is good but it's not working for everybody and here's my plan to close some of this income inequality gap and improve health care, reduce health care costs and improve education. that's what the democrats are going to try and make the case against the trump economy. >> so as you mentioned in the "state of the union" on monday president trump made the economy a huge part of his speech. what were some of the talking points that stood out to you that you wanted to clarify or elaborate on? i know you mentioned the blue collar boom. >> clarify or and elaborate, maybe fact check? >> yeah, we could call it that.
anything you feel is worth elaborating on? >> sure. i feel he's the ultimate showman. he's the ultimate promoter. he's done that throughout his career. and what he tried to sell in the "state of the union" is that we have the greatest economy the u.s. has ever seen. we're in unprecedented boom times, all the rest of it. none of that is true. in fact, we do have a good economy, a decent economy, not a booming economy. stock market he can brag on, absolutely. has gone up significantly under his watch, probably not as much as it went up under barack obama. you know, it makes people angry sometimes when you point that out that obama's stock market performed as well or better than trump's, but obama was also coming from a very low base at the end of the financial crisis when the stock market was really tanked. so you have a lot of room to grow. but if you look at the unemployment rate, if you look at the job growth rate, you look at the economic growth rate, none of the trend lines look
significantly different than they did under obama. trump inherited a pretty decent economy. it was growing, inherited the stock market that they recovered from the great recession. and he's now presenting it as this is the greatest thing we've ever had. it's not. >> we have a democratic presidential debate happening tonight, another one. >> is there any night we don't have something major happening? >> this week has been exhausting. we're almost there. >> but then we get new hampshire. we might actually get a result out of new hampshire. we might find out who won which would be a unique thing. >> yeah, compared to iowa. so watching tonight's democratic debate as the field gets smaller do you anticipate we're really going to start seeing differences in the economic messages that each candidate has? i know you mentioned income
inequality is a message across the board we're seeing from all candidates but are they going to really start differentiating themselves? >> yeah, they're going to have to go at each other a little bit harder now particularly bernie sanders and elizabeth warren as they try to, you know, distinguish themselves as the leading progressive candidate in this field. i mean it's just the weirdest democratic primary i've ever seen. a lot of our expectations for what was going to happen have not happened and you've got the rise of pete buttigieg now who drives progressives crazy because they think he's way too much of a moderate centrist, you know, nerd road scholar guy, but he's really done well. you know, and he did well in iowa and he's got good numbers in new hampshire and has to be taken seriously, even though it seems sort of implausible he's the guy that could be the democratic nominee for president. but we're getting to the point in the primaries where, you know, they're really going to have to draw sharp distinctions
with one another in these remaining debates that we have. so i think you'll see a little bit sharper rhetoric. the problem is, you know, with warren and sanders, they're really similar on a lot of areas and particularly on health care, medicare for all, wealth taxes. they're very similar, so that's just a fight that's going to continue to go on. vice president biden needs to have some kind of a big come back. you know, super tuesday looks good for him. things get better demographically for him as we move forward in the primaries and get into some of the states that can do better. but as we were talking to the governor mike bloomberg is going to cut into some of these numbers in some of these super tuesday states, which is a really interesting phenomenon and could i'm sort of in the brokered convention curious column. i think it's possible we could wind up there. i wouldn't generally say that, you know, because it's all reporters dreams to cover a brokered convention, and it never actually happens. but i think in this instance the
possibility is there that there's not one of these candidates who has garnered the number of delegates needed to have the nomination locked up going into the convention. so, you know, our times are crazy that we live in. they are intense and partisan and we could wind up all covering and watching a crazy brokered democratic convention, which would probably be just par for our times because that's the world we live in where everything is crazy. >> all right, so we have a few minutes for questions. this is an opportunity to pick ben's brain. senior economic correspondents. any questions from the audience? there's a mic going around so i'm waiting for the mic. >> we have election after
election, administration after administration but i don't think our society is moving forward and better. and we have mass incarceration but we never talk about human rights issues. and you have an election and never talk about that either. and -- to benefit a few. >> right. let me try to answer the basic question you're asking here which is criminal justice reform as an issue --
>> no the way in criminal justice how to benefit the prisoners in lighter sentence or something like this -- >> thank you. i want to allow other people to ask questions, too, so thank you for that. i think criminal justice will continue to be an issue in particularly democratic primaries. you know, it's a big motivating issue for the progressive base and mass incarceration. and president trump will actually run on his criminal justice reform efforts. you've seen him run the ad in the super bowl and he'll talk more about it throughout the campaign, but it is a big issue that will continue to get asked about during the campaign. we had a question in the back. >> i focus on computer science education, and so i wanted to hear more when it comes to the economic divide and you were talking about the need for upscaling folks. if you're seeing any great best practices especially since we all know that ai is coming and going to be impacting a lot of
jobs. >> you would probably know better than i being at microsoft, you know, what best practices are. all i know is that it is a significant, you know, economic issue facing the united states. and we have not figure out exactly how to, you know, scaleup worker education to the point where there are the right people who feel these jobs that people at microsoft and other great people have. hopefully some of the governors talking here today will continue to address that in each of their states. i know a lot of them are just laser focused how do you get those skill tuesday the people who need them and get those people into the jobs that really pay a higher wage and can deal with some of the economic inequality issues we have. but i don't have an answer to what the best solution is.
i would just say ask the governors as they come up here and press them on that because it's critical for the u.s. over here. >> aaron siegel for the association of clinical oncology. i have a 2020 question. we just saw the impeachment trial what happened. do you see that being a big issue 10 months from now in november, do you see it -- is the news cycle getting impatient as we've seen -- >> has they impeached somebody? the news cycle is ned iably compressed and i'm not sure the extent to which impeachment is going to be a huge animating issue in november. i think it matters in terms of turn out and democratic turn out and the moat investigation for democrats to turn out. i think, you know, most of the estimates that you look at we could wind up with, you know, a record turn out in this election in 2020 on both sides because impeachment has absolutely motivated the republican base,
the trump base to reject it and to, you know, support the president and say it was unfair, it was done to him. so there's a huge motivating factor there. and then on the democratic side that it's an absolute outrage that he did what he did and was acquitted for it by the united states senate. so you're going to see a lot of passion on both sides, a lot of heavy turn out. but impeachment will matter. it's not going away. we haven't impeached that many presidents in our history, so it's a big event when that happens. it's a big event when they're acquitted in the senate. so it's not going away by any means, but there will be 10,000 different stories between now and november that will make a difference in this election, so it's a piece that will be important, will drive turn out and enthusiasm on both sides, and, you know, it's not clear to me -- the things we care about in wisconsin, pennsylvania,
michigan, iowa, florida those are the states who are going to decide the election. and impeachment is kind of 50-50 in all those places and everything is 50-50 in all those places which is fascinating to cover and follow and makes it really unclear exactly how this thing is going to turn out in the end. but i don't think ultimately impeachment will be the issue that decides. it will be a referendum on trump in general. that's what this election will be about. the economy is good, it's fine, decent all the things we've said and talked about but i don't necessarily think this election is going to be about the economy. it's going to be about donald trump and whether or not the country wants four more years of him. and impeachment will be a piece of that, how people decide that. >> all right, i think we have time for one more question. >> jason miller, a lawyer here in d.c. you referenced california and
how it's had good economic growth. but in california we also know there's major economic inequality, the social issue there is kind of pretty bad. so where do you see things going in california? >> well, you got legal weed so you guys are all pretty happy out there in california, but no to be more serious about it obviously it's a state that's trended hard blue and is as democratic as you could get. and the republican party is kind of completely lost its way in california and you see
so, you know, california's got a lot of to deal with, a lot of great things, terrific growth, terrific companies. great place to go, great place to visit. i love hanging out there whenever i'm in l.a. or san francisco. but it is like several other states, many other states, not an economy that is sharing its gains across all income groups in ways that we want to see. so it's up to the democrats to figure out how to do that because democrats run the state and they will run the state for the foreseeable future and fundamental issues to deal with there. >> that's all the time we have.
it was a treat having you. we'll be back at 11:00 a.m. with three more interviews with governors. >> thanks, everybody. thanks for being here. >> the annual state solutions conference taking a break here. it's expected to last about 45 minutes. our coverage will continue then a little bit after 11:00 eastern here on c-span 3. while this break is under way we'll show you remarks from earlier in the conference. >> okay, thank you. good morning, everybody. my name is darius dixon.
i'm the associate editor for politico states and also an editor for a daily newsletter we have covering all things politics in the great state of illinois, the land of lincoln. welcome to state solution. so we have a lot to cover. governor, thank you for being here. we want to cover marijuana legalization, cover overhauling the state income tax. and of course you're not going to avoid 2020 politics. so let's just get started. you know, so you're just marking your first year in office and i think you get to check off all sorts of liberal wins you had in the first year. right, there was codifying abortion rights into the state constitution. there's legalizing marijuana in the state. and also raising the minimum wage was something that's just been going on in every state.
and so a lot of this was achievable because, you know, you came in and democrats have both houses in the state legislator, and so does having single party rule, does that benefit everyone in the state? is that really kind of a made for good governments? >> not always. let me be clear of this with the old will rogers line, i don't belong to an organized party, i'm a democrat. and that is true in illinois also. and so just because we have a democratic house and a democratic senate and a democratic governor duoesn't men we always are in agreement on everything. and, you know, we need leadership in the state. we have had -- we've been somewhat directionless in the last few years under my predecessor, you know, there was really no compromise, no movement forward for the state. we had two years of a budget crisis. so having, you know, a new governor and a new direction for
the state we're really focused on moving the state ahead trying to solve our fiscal challenges. but also as you mentioned making some significant changes in illinois and expanding peoples rights, protecting people, lifting up the minimum wage was something very important. it's the first thing i did as governor. in fact, the legislator rarely moves as quickly as they did after i got elected. it was the very first bill that i signed. my wife and i were there at the signing and then we had to take separate cars away from the signing. and i called her and i said you know what, a million people are going to be lifted out of poverty as a result of what we just did. a million 4,000 people will get a raise. so if we just quit now we would have done something for it state. but we've gotten a lot done and i'm proud of that.
i worked on both sides of the aisle. a lot of things i got done were bipartisan in nature and i'd love to talk about those things. >> one of those big agenda items for this year is overhauling the state income tax system. you want to have a progressive system that's going to tax wealth yr people at a higher rate, but it has to go before voters in november. what makes you think that voters are going to back this? so much of the state's budget, so much of the future of the state is tied up with this? what convinces you? >> we have a very unfair tax system in illinois. if you think of all the taxes people pay in every state, virtually everyone one of them is regressive tax, right? the people who are wealthy pay the same rate as people who are poor for their food, their medicine, their clothing and
everything else that they buy, sales tax, property taxes, you know, doesn't differentiate other than actually in low income neighborhoods your property taxes are actually higher than in high income neighborhood. and so the only way that you can really correct for that is in the income tax. so just to give you a sense today in illinois the wealthiest people in the state pay in total about 7% of their income in total taxes. the poorest 20% of people who pay taxes pay 14%. and that basically gradually increases as your income goes down. so that doesn't seem fair, right? it should be the other way around. and the only way you can really correct for that is a graduated income tax. and again most states in the united states and the united states government have a graduated income tax because it's fair. >> right. this is also something fittingly enough that's come up in the
presidential process. a contest where elizabeth warren and bernie sanders have all these ambitious plans to tax the wealthy more. is taxing wealthy people more any plan to address income inequality or wealth inequality? >> well, it does address wealth inequality. most of the services of government, most of the ne investments a government makes are to the benefit of 99% of people. in our case in illinois the graduated income tax will lower taxes or keep taxes the same for 97% of the people in illinois. it's only the top 3.7% that will pay a little bit more. so addressing income inequality is very important. as you know over the years it's gotten worse and worse and worse. it really isn't about punishing anybody but who should bear the
brunt of paying for our roads and services, for mental health? what are we going to do to make it fairer for people? and again the income tax is the best way to do that. remember if you wanted to lower taxes in illinois, you'd lower taxes on everybody because we have a flat tax rate. so that doesn't seem right. you know, i like the idea of lowering tax, but we have a structural deficit in the state. i wouldn't even be -- i'd be advocating for a graduated income tax, but it would be different if we didn't have a structural deficit of several billion dollars. and that just has to be addressed. we're being efficient and effective about how we administer government services. i've really brought that efficiency to the state. we're implementing on erp system, all the other things that will help us bring down cost of government, but we also need revenue. and this the best way and fairest way to do it.
>> but is that something, like when you have these grander plans around remaking government, can you do that without something like a graduated income tax? >> it's possible. it's obviously, you know, in other states the tax systems are -- in several states they have a flat income tax or have no income tax in a few states so it's possible. but for a state like illinois where we don't have money coming out of the ground because we're not, you know, an oil rich state and other states that have some natural resource that's feeding their state coffers, they may have a different tax system. a diverse population, we have rural, urban. we need a tax system that helps us pay the bills and helps us to, you know, address the income inequality issue. >> some members on the state legislator are already talking about, okay, the next budget for the state and trying to
incorporate doing the graduated income tax assuming voters are going to buy into that. given the sort of economic trials the state has gone through to put it mildly, does passing a budget with that already in it assuming that, does that put the state in some financial risk? >> look, we're going to pass a budget that, you know, where we can manage either way because we don't know the outcome of the vote in november. i had the experts in our government put out a report on what exactly is it we're facing, you know, with an almost $3 billion structural deficit? what are we going to do about that and really showing what would you do, what are the alternative s alternatives? there are people who don't want to talk about this. they just want to be against a
graduated income tax. if you don't address this, here's what's going to happen. 15% cut in education, 15% cut in state police, 15% cut in services for substance abuse, mental health, et cetera across the board. that is what you have to do to address this because obviously we have fixed costs, interest on our debt, all the other things that are fixed. and you get to what people call discretionary spending and these are things that affect peoples lives particularly middle class working families across the state who, you know, i've tried to be a champion for and making sure we protect them while we're paying our bills that seems like, you know, an honest way to move forward, and frankly in keeping with the philosophy i have. >> but then should the state legislator sort of wait and see what the results are or are they going to move in parallel here? >> we're required to pass a budget by the end of the session here.
you saw what happened when they didn't pass a budget. for two years we had a crisis in the state. literally deficit spent in our state as some court orders that required some spending without a budget. we deficit spent by $600 million a month in illinois. so our backlog of bills just to give you a sense of this went from $5 billion of a backlog of bills that were over more than 90 days over due to $16.7 billion. not only do we need to balance the budget but we need to pay down the backlog of bills and deal with other challenges in the state like lowering property taxes. >> let's turn to education. this has been one of your focal points since you came into office. many states and illinois are going to start dealing with teacher shortages.
and you sort of proposed let's raise the minimum salary for educators and a few other things. but when the economy is doing well, is that going to really have the draw that you want? is it going to attract teachers? >> yeah, when you get some teachers getting paid -- remember our teacher minimum salary in illinois until we raised it, it was $8,000. so it seems like that's not going to attract anybody to our state. and we raised it to $40,000 which is a completely rational number to have as a minimum. i realize some people say that's public service, you should get paid less. i say maybe you could say that but the reality is teachers have children they want to put through college and they have bills to pay and a mortgage they want to pay.
and so, you know, it seems fair to me that we're going to pay teachers the rational wage that they deserve and one that will attract great people to the profession. so we've done a lot, by the way, to try to address the teacher shortage in our state and minimum wage is just one of the . >> and the state has gotten the news of the funding formula. does it need to have that graduated tax income system restructured? >> in general like i said our budget needs -- we have to do something with the structural deficit of our budget. so putting aside evidence based funding model which is what we call it, you would still need a fairer tax system and something that would help you pay the bills. but the reality is here's the thing we've got going on in
illinois. for years and years and years state government was getting out of the business of funding schools, and they were leaving it all to local government to raise property taxes to pay for schools. and the neighborhoods that that hurts are the lowest income neighborhoods and middle income neighborhoods. wealth wealthier neighborhoods don't get as hurt. they have to pay a higher tax bill but as you can imagine it is less of an impact on someone who's wealthy. so we have a property tax problem in illinois because we are 50th in the united states in state funding for education, 50th. 24% of the bill for k-12 education comes from the state. 24%. it's been declining over the years. and the rest of it as you know comes from local property taxes and a little bit from the federal government, about 8% or so. so as we decline, we get out of the business of funding education, property taxes go up. other states have gone the other
direction. where the state is stepping up. half from the state government, half from local governments and property taxes. we need to turn around and head in that direction. we're not going to get there right away but it is the direction we need to go. and that evidence based funding model is an incentive because it allows us to fund the schools that need it most which happens to also be in the neighborhoods with the highest property taxes and we help lift up those schools and those kids again in poor neighborhoods, in middle class neighborhoods that have been put upon by the failures of state government. >> okay, let's turn to another subject, marijuana legalization. lots of other states are watching illinois. and what's sort of baked into your plan, the bill that passed in illinois was a social equity plan to try to give communities of color impacted by the war on
drugs and whatnot to add some diversity and give a fair shot at this potentially billion dollar industry in the state. now, most states haven't cracked thiissue, this part of the issue. figuring out social economic programs have been hit-or-miss to say the least. in illinois, in chicago some of the early licenses didn't reflect that diversity, so how is the administration sort of planning around that? >> sure. i want to point out the social equity component which is the prime component of our cannabis legalization bill is much more than just about allowing people to get into the industry who otherwise have been left out and left behind. we, for example, have a massive pardon and expungement program. 300,000 people in our state will either be pardoned and have their records expunged or their arrest record will be taken away. they may not have been convicted
but when you go to apply for a job and you've been arrested you have to check that box. even if you were 19 years old and you did something stupid when you were young and years later you're still checking the box and they suspect you. we're still getting that impediment people can go rent an apartment they couldn't before. that's an important part. and as you know the cannabis convictions have been unfairly biased. the convictions upon people of color. and so we're reversing the damage. that's one thing we're doing. the second thing is many of the dollars that come into the state from cannabis legalization, from the taxation of it actually go back into those exactly those neighborhoods. the neighborhoods that have been most put apan by the war on cannabis. you're raising the issue of who's going to get into business, right? so here's what happened historically in all the other ten states before the 11th state
illinois came along. they legalized, number one, by binding referendum. we did it by legislation. we had legislation that was worked on for more than two years. so it was very carefully crafted. what happened in a lot of other states is all of a sudden the voters voted for it, and then it was a mad scramble to get the thing done, you know, because they were required to. ours was very intentional and so what we wanted to do was make sure that people not -- not just people of color but people traditionally who haven't been able to get into business from neighborhoods all over the statewide have a shot at this. so we created a program that does that. let me address the thing you are suggesting which is, you know, that we need to get more people into this industry, and we haven't yet. so the way we started this industry was we wanted to make sure it was highly regulated, and that we were managing that regulation properly. so we started by allowing the medical cannabis operators when we legalized five years earlier.
the medical cannabis operators were the first ones to get into the industry. and then shortly after that we would take applications from new entrants into the industry. here's the problem, my predecessor authorized 15 licenses in the medical cannabis industry, all of them white male owners. and so there's nothing horribly wrong about it, but there's no diversity. we needed to fix that. so in this bill that we passed, this next round of licenses which people have already applied for these are going to be granted in may, there's a social economic component to it. if you fit certain criteria, you are from a certain neighborhood that has an economic, you know, criteria associated with it, and all of this is designed to make sure we've got a diversity of applicants and a diversity of ownership among, you know, all the different pieces of the
cannabis industry because people always think it's just the dispensary you're talking about, but of course there's cultivation sites, transportation and all these other pieces of the industry. so we are very focused on having a social -- the social equity component be successful. and that's why so many other states that are on the rurj of legalizing cannabis are looking at what we did and calling us and asking what did you do, how do we get that done in our state? >> right. and part of what's happened in say california is that they did the legalization but not the social equity program, you know, sort of packaged the way illinois did, and it's created this elicit market and sort of hurt the legitimate businesses. really quick how are you sort of preparing for that? a lot of like towns and cities aren't popping en. >> but there's an illicit market out thereof people who go buy
alcohol out there and give it to minors. we want to prosecute that. there's going to be a black market of some sort. the question is are you managing this properly? in illinois we had deaths from synthetic marijuana. then there were deaths from the use of illegally manufactured thc cartridges for vaping device. right, we all have heard about all of this. and so what you get now when you go to a dispensary, a legal dispensary in the state of illinois is a product that you know is safe. it's safely manufactured. it's been tested, et cetera. we're being very careful about that and i think that's the advantage people find and the reason you don't want to go find some dealer that's going to sell you something that you don't know what's in it, you don't know where it came from. that's why i think people are showing up at the dispensaries and we had a great first month. i think most important why it's great is not just revenue to
those businesses but also it was great because we really had very few challenges, you know, things that you might expect would crop up with a new industry that shows up with one dispensary that was broken into because, you know, they have cash. we don't have a great banking system in the united states if you've legalized cannabis in your state. we've got to solve that problem at the federal level. but anyway we're on our way and i think we're doing it in the right way and being very careful and we're making adjustments as we know because this is new thing for illinois and frankly still relatively new in the nation. >> right, let's get to 2020. what's sort of amusing -- or not amusing but illinois is going to be a shoe-in for whoever is the democratic nominee in november so iowa, wisconsin, you know, your neighbors kind of toss ups. so are you concerned that the length of this campaign, the
length of this primary season without having a central candidate to focus on has made it harder to focus on beating president trump? >> you know, i remember back in 1991 leading into the 1992 elections and, you know, the elections started occurring in 1992. there were seven democratic candidates running that virtually nobody had heard of or that, you know, everybody -- they called them the seven dwarves any of you that were old enough remember. and george h.w. bush had a 91% approval rating because he'd just come off of desert storm. and so everybody said there is no chance for a democrat to win in 1992. and you saw what happened, right? one of those people that people call the seven dwarves became president and had two terms, successful terms as president. so it strikes me that, you know, when you talk about this election season anybody who
thinks they know what's going to happen in these swing states now is just wrong. we don't know. we know what the swing states are. but iowa, you know, wisconsin, michigan, pennsylvania, arizona these are all, you know, swing states that whoever wins those states is probably going to win the election. the effect it will have in illinois is several. for one we're going to have an impact still on the primaries. and we have a march 17th primary if you all believe that it won't be settled on the democratic side by march 17th and illinois is a big state that will weigh in and so we'll have an impact on choosing the presidential nominee for democrats. and then in the general election we'll have an effect because we have a very activist political environment in illinois. and trust me as happened in previous years van loads and bus
loads of people from illinois are going to be pouring over the borders into wisconsin and iowa helping knock on doors working on the ground operations in those states and i'm excited about us being able to help. >> well, for those who don't know you're a billionaire, okay. you've spent about 1$160 millio in your run for governor. >> against a guy who spent about $100 plus million. >> fair enough. lots of money. no debate there. but looking at the presidential race, right, we've seen popular candidates like senator kamala harris drop out because of money. do you think that's fair? >> well, first of all i don't know if you remember kamala harris actually raised a lot of money early on. and i know her and i think she's a terrific person.
one of the challenges and i've said this to some of the presidential candidates over the last year who have come through illinois is either you're going to enter the race late and use the resources that you have at that point, you know, if you can garner resources to, you know, shoot yourself into the middle of this -- you know, of this exciting race, you know, late or you've got to bide your resources, bide your time early because here's what often happens. people get tired of the front runners after a little while. i think we all remember, you know, john kerry was back of the pack in 2004 until, you know, people got tired of the front runners. and i think the front runners at that point were, you know, dean, gephart, et cetera. so it isn't all about resources. resources help a lot and you've
seen all the commercials from bloomberg all over the nation. it doesn't -- look, rurss help get the message out there's no doubt about it but it is the message that matters. whether people connect with the message, i can tell you i ran in places in illinois. i've worked hard in places in illinois where democrats don't normally win. you know, usually in fact my -- the last democratic governor pat quinn won only cooke county in 2014, and that's where most of the votes -- many of the votes are and did okay in the rest of the state. he lost that race but he didn't win many in the race before that. cook county being the one for democrats. i went down state in southern illinois, central illinois, into rural counties where democrats don't normally go and made the case. here's what the facts are. middle class families have had
their standards of living decline over the years. the cost of college has gone up, the cost of health care has gone up. your wages have been stagnant and people are hurting. so you have to address that issue on the ground. it can't be some lofty concepts about governing. this has to be what are you doing for people who are hurting around the country, and that is how you win. again, the message is what matters. obviously being able to run money online. bernie sanders is not a wealthy person. he's raised a ton of money online. so has elizabeth with an, so have others. message is really important. >> does the democratic party as an establishment, does that need to sort of level the playing field? >> does the democratic party need to level the playing field? i'm not sure how the democratic party should engage in, you
know, in a primary, you know, to level the playing field. look, i -- what i can say is that i do not think iowa should go first. i mean, i thought that the day you know. so this isn't a new thought. and some people saw that i tweeted out on the night of the iowa caucuses that illinois should go first. and there's a reason not just because i'm from illinois and i believe in illinois, but we have the morse diverse state that you could have for bigging a presidential nominee. we have tech industry. we have agriculture. we have -- 75% of our territory in illinois is agriculture. we have rural, exurban, urban communities all over the state, every swathe of different belief across the state of illinois. diversity matters. and to have these states with no diversity come first and somehow that's going to decide who's
going to drop out, if you couldn't compete in one of those nondiverse early states, you can't make it to the third or fourth or fifth, you know, state or super tuesday? so it seems to me like having a state like illinois that's much more representative of the united states -- the illinois party agrees with me and have come out in favor with me. it is the right way to go. i think we're going to get it done, too. >> we're starting to run low on time, but i got to get this in, too. you scored a lot of victories in your first year, but i think everybody sort of knows that corruption in illinois sort of looms over everything. look, there are federal investigations. there are people whose office have been raided in the last year. you addressed some of this in your state of the address. >> i did. >> some of the measures talked about about disclosure seem like
band-aids, seem like nibbles at the bigger issue of corruption in the state. what needs to happen? is there something where maybe you sort of don't have the outside work, and pay lawmakers more? >> no. >> there are more radical ways probably but what needs to happen? >> first of all i didn't just talk about it in the state of the state. i actually pushed legislation in o our veto session to make sure we know who the businesses are behind the lobbyists, how much money they're giving so we can look at the collective of how much influence they are wielding on legislators. that's not something that's been available in illinois to the public or press. i want more transparency. that is how we're going to weed out corruption. we have laws. the people being prosecuted are being prosecuted under laws that exist. the question is that you didn't know that they had a conflict of interest. you didn't know that they were
bribing or getting bribed. and more disclosure is in my view a hugely important component of this. but we have, in illinois, a ledge laytor can also be a lobbyist. not in the legislature, but you could lobby city governments, for example. remember, you have a lot of influence if you're a ledge laytor. that seems not right to me, and we ought to get rid of it and i called for that. you might think, we're behind other states. we are. we have to fix that. i called for that, called to make sure that we have more disclosure so again you can root out the con dplirkts of interest. i believe strongly that our legislature, you know, one of the things that i think voters don't pay a lot of attention to is the amount of influence, again, that's being wielded upon all these elected officials that nobody pays a lot of attention to. i've been very forthright about
the fact that these are -- when i come forward with views on issues, they're my views. i listen to everybody, because i, you know -- i like to think that i'm -- everybody likes to think you're right all the time, right? but the truth of the matter is that, you know, confident about 90% that i'm right and i know enough to think that there's a 10% possibility that i could be wrong, so i'm willing to listen because i want to get it right. so that's something that i think, you know, people are relying upon me to help push as we get ethics legislation done. we have anneth ibz commission in illinois that we put together that is working hard, very judiciously now so we can have an ethics package we can be proud of. >> thank you for being here, joining us. what a great way to start the day. we covered a lot of issues. but welcome, help me join -- help me welcome to the stage
anita kumar from "politico" and governor larry hogan of maryland. [ applause ] >> so thank you to darius, and good morning, everyone. i'm a white house correspondent and associate editor at "politico." i'm glad to be joined by grrch larry hogan who's the chairperson of the national governs asocialiation this year. we're going to talk about the environment and opioid epidemic and security at the polls and a little bit about politics
because i have to bring some in. let's get started. >> good morning. >> governor, there's a battle brewing between maryland and the epa over the chesapeake bay cleanup. you're not happy with the epa's unwillingness to do anything about that. do you think that is because the trump administration is unwilling to go after pennsylvania in an election year? >> the chesapeake bay is a national treasure that i've been focused on the whole five years that i've been governor, trying to focus on bay restoration and cleanup. we've invested billion dollars at the state level. it's the cleanest it's been in recorded history. so maryland is doing everything it possibly can, but we're impacted by our upstream neighbors, pennsylvania and new york, particularly pennsylvania, because the suss qua hana river
flows down from pennsylvania, dumps right into the chesapeake bay. and pennsylvania has not been doing it's fair share. and the epa has not been enforcing federal law to require pennsylvania to do it. >> why do you think that is? >> i don't know why they're not doing what they're supposed to do, and i don't know why the epa is not requiring them to do what they need to do. but we are now in the process of considering legal action against the state of pennsylvania and against the epa to enforce federal law and require that both of them do their fair share to clean up the bay. we also, i am the chairman of the six-state regional commission which includes pennsylvania. we work together with -- virginia is working closely with us. pennsylvania for whatever reason is not lifrg up to the commitments at the federal level. we've been pushing back very hard against the trump administration on the cuts to the federal funding in the
chesapeake bay, which we've been success envelope restoring funding the past couple of years. >> you don't know what it is? you don't think it's politics, though? >> i hate to figure out why pennsylvania is not living up or why the epa is not enforcing. i'm sure there's politics involved, but i think it's just a difference of opinion about the importance of the chesapeake bay and the clean water. and we're going to make sure we get both of them to do their job. >> yeah. you actually, i think the epa is saying it would, your lawsuit and what you're trying to do would backfire and make it worse, the chesapeake bay? >> i don't think that's true. >> you don't think that's true? they just have a difference of opinion? >> it's really an important body of water, and we've got a federal agreement that we've been working on for years, and the law is the law. we're going to try to make sure that they follow the law. >> your administration has also opposed epa's air regulation and
clean water act roll backs. we've seen the epa go after the state of california who's pushed back on a lot of things. do you think that the state of maryland is going to be targeted by the trump administration like california? >> i don't know about that. i think we have a difference of opinion sometimes on clean water and clean area. in maryland, i've pushed and we've implemented tougher clean air standards than 48 other states that are nearly twice as strong as the paris accord recommendcations. and we're going to continue to enforce those. we've done that while growing our economy and having the second biggest turnaround in america. we think you can do both, grow the economy and protect the environment. >> let's move on to another issue. deaths from opioids overdoses are decreasing in maryland, but in baltimore, predominantly african-american, they are
increasing. what needs to change, particularly as fentanyl becomes more potent and is mixed with cocaine? >> this is a terrible crisis in america. it's not just in baltimore or my state of maryland. but when i was first running for governor in 2014, i started to hear from people all across the state about the opioid crisis, long before most people were focused on it. as soon as i became governor in january of 2015, i declared a state of emergency. i was the first governor in america to do so. we've invested about $800 million in trying to focus on this issue, and really we've been pretty successful in driving down prescription opioid, you know, abuse, and deaths. we've done a great job on bringing heroin deaths. and all opioid deaths across the state with the exception of fentanyl in baltimore city. and this is just a much more
dangerous drug, and it's -- while we've had some success across the state, i think more so than many other states, baltimore city continues to be a difficult area. drug trade is big, gang trafficking. we're continuing to focus on assisting the city. this is something that really is tearing apart, you know, families and communities from one end of the country to the other, and it's killing far too many of our citizens and we're attacking it from all directions, but it's going to take an all-handson deck approach. >> do you feel like there needs to be a change in the approach? >> we've thrown everything we can think of at the problem, but we've got to get the city of baltimore and the federal government and community organizations and really it's going to take everybody to try to solve this issue. it's killing far too many people. >> the racial gap has also showed up in the fight against hiv. new hiv diagnoses in baltimore
have declined primarily due to lower number of infections among white residents and women. black people experience higher rates. how is your administration trying to close that gap? >> i'm proud of the fact that we've driven hiv rates down to the lowest level since 1986, which i think is better than any state in america. i'm proud. i'm not pleased with the fact that there's a gap, but i'm not sure that we're responsible for the fact that there's a gap, but we're going to try to address this in every part of our state in every community. we've made tremendous success. >> medical marijuana is legal but recreational, not. you've ibdcated there's been problems with implentding the medical marijuanaa program. >> it wasn't set up very well. it happened right before i
became governor, under the previous governor, and the law wasn't written very well. they've had difficulty in awarding the licenses. there was some concerns about the way it was imploechlted. but it's finally starting to happen, and it's -- you know, it's getting straightened out. there's some debate back and forth about the possibility of legalization, but it doesn't look as if that's going to move forward anytime soon. >> for reclational? >> after. >> the legislature has said they're not going to bring that up this year. >> homelessness has been in decline in maryland. do you have any advice for the other governors in states like california and oregon suffering with this problem? >> it's tough. thank you for saying all these -- almost every question staurtsds with, you know, hiv rates are down, homelessness is
down, the only thing up is employment and jobs and businesses and the economy. but thank you. we've been working hard on it. a big part is trying to provide opportunities for people. a lot has to do with the drug treatment and mental health invoemts, and, you know, providing housing opportunities and job training and, you know, helping returning citizens that are coming out of being incarcerated. all those things help. i just got back. we just did an nga infrastructure in san francisco, governor newsom was our host. they have a tremendous homelessness problem in california and san francisco in particular, which i got to witness. >> did you talk to him? >> yes. they're working hard to try to address it. but i don't have specific -- i know they're working hard at it, but they've kernel got bigger issues and problems than in our state. >> what do you think about the
trump administration or the president's thought that you could use police officers to sort of round up the homeless? >> look, i think, you know, i don't know the details of what the president has said or proposed to do but that, but i know the governor of the state is pretty frustrated about what's going on with the city of san francisco, as are others. they've got to figure out what to do. you want to be compassionate about people who are in that situation, find themselves homeless, but you also -- it's really ruining the quality of life for people in san francisco, keeping people from going there, and becoming a health crisis. >> what if -- >> hello, everyone. okay. this thing is on. great. well, good morning. thank you everyone for sticking around here at the state solutions summit. we're thrilled to have governor jared polis. i'm gavin bate. we're going to get rolling to a
speed round on a number of topics. because i'm an energy reporter, let's start off there. colorado has some very ambitious energy and climate goals. can you outline those? >> yeah. i ran for office with the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040. we had several communities that have stepped up with more aggressive goals. the first was pueblo, with the goal of 100% renewable energy by 2035. we also had one and now two cities that have achieved 100% renewable, aspen and now glen wood springs have a cheefbd that. we look forward to really telling ta statewide story. we have a variety of utility and energy providers, two investor owned, a number of co-ops and muniss pals. some are leading, some lagging, but we're looking forward to
working with everybody. >> you've talked about getting to that in just 20 years. the plan you've put forward doesn't have any enforcement mechanisms. how can you make sure they get there? >> it's hard to have the specific policies in place for the full window. we've worked with excel, which is ar largest utility in our state, now put in the statute 80% carbon reduction over some years. the announcement with tri-state, 90% by 2030. that final in the second decade i think will get there and -- but the planning for that can't begin until we reach that 80% or 90%. >> what about the transportation sector, the highest emitting carbon sector. they tow boats, kayaks.
how can you move away from that? >> we are excited about opportunities for beneficial electrification. they're excited about 0% emission. last year we adopted the standard so it should be about 6.5% of vehicles sold over the next five years. we're making sure it's in place. we're looking at how do we look at front-range rail. most of our traffic, what all terntives can people have to getting their car and driving to work? if we can beat it on time. >> you're here at the national association governors meeting with awe a lot of your colleagues. are you talking about climate issues given that we haven't seen congress moving forward? >> you'll have to ask me
forward. i don't know the discussion in the next few days. it's something we talk about with the western governors, talk about interconnectivity and transmission ichb truckture. i'm sure energy will be a topic covered today or tomorrow. >> speaking of western governors issues, water is a big issue out west and the colorado river basin is running short. what are you doing to conserve water usage in your state? >> in the west, in colorado and certainly also in other states like nevada and arizona, water is really our lifeblood of our economy, way of life, whether for our ago industries, growing metro poltan and suburban areas. i just gave a speech to the water congress in colorado last week. there's a 30-minute version, but i won't give thaw. we have a state water plan that
includes water storage, water efficiency, that was completed under my predecessor john hickenlooper who's a candidate for united states senate. it's a question of funding. we are including $10 million from the general fund. the other thing we did is passed a sports gaming initiative on the ballot last year which i supported that provides a dedicated funding source for water projects. that doesn't really start until all the regs are done and rules are out. that will be next year. that's going to produce additional revenue for water infrastructure and efficiency projects. >> you mentioned agriculture. let's turn to cannabis. so colorado bacecame one of the first states to legalize in 2014. since then, growing industry has sprouted in colorado around that substance. what do you think still needs to be done to make sure it's safe for everyone? >> we have a really thriving
cannabis industry. one is going to be industrial hemp, formally allowed under the most recent farm bill we just sent in our comments to secretary purdue's initial draft rules. we have a lot of suggested improvements. this is an opportunity for hundreds of colorado farmers, who are growing hemp for textile products, cbds. it gets more attention nationally, what we're doing on the marijuana side. these are, don't think large farms, they grow houses, they're generally indoors, a high value crop, heavily regulated, strong security requirements about the supply chain. we have a more mature industry than other states. we want to keep that advantage because they're going to catch up. we want to be ready for the next stage. we passed laws that encourage capital formation.
companies to go public, banking remains an issue. we have the safe act here, which passed the house before the senate. one of the lead sponsors is represent ed perlmutter. we're doing everything we can under our state authority to make sure that cannabis legal companies have access to financial services. >> so you brought up the safe act. cannabis is getting more attention in congress these days. if we were to see descheduling of cannabis, how would that affect the industry in your state? >> it would be good. in many jurisdiction, sales are still not legal. what we have in colorado is local control. kansas, utah, it's not legal at all. in our states it's up to each town. our second largest city, colorado springs does have not any nearby stands.
we value this concept of local control as we do for liquor and other activities. these are locally licensed. can't be near a school, have to have certain security cameras. but it's up to each community to decide. >> i want to turn to some technology questions here. the house anti-trust subcommittee held a field hearing to investigate big tech continues violating antitrust laws. i wonder what you think about the tech companies. are they too big? >> i didn't get a chance to attend the field hearing. it would have been snies. i'm glad to hear that they're hearing from our local folks. i think the con soecht of what antitrust means in 21st century in an internet economy is important. i think we have to figure out what that means from a dom pettive landscape, how do you
define competition? it used to be easy. if you were selling chairs and had 80% of the market, you had monopoly-like attributes. but here it's like you define the marked. google is more than a search company. what does that mean? who are your competition? it's an interesting space. i'm glad that the discussions are occurring to figure out that right balance to support innovation and prevent anticompetitive practices. >> rolling on here i want to talk about the space force, the newest brarch of our military. colorado is seen as a front runner to be the home of the headquarters for the space forward. what are you doing to move the command to your state? i know it's a big competition between a lot of different jurisdictions? >> we think we're the best for the space command. we have the infrastructure in el paso county. we already have several military bases. we have a great quality of life for military spouses and those
who support members of our military, and a great ecosystem around space. we're excited to continue to make that case. we're aligning some of our state transportation investment to meet the needs of active duty military in el paso county, and we're confident that we have the best value proposition for the u.s. military. >> what would it mean for colorado if the space command were to locate there? >> colorado is already a center of space innovation. we have a strong military presence and heritage in our state. this will be important for the aero space players that are the major once in colorado. we also have a lot of startups and a great startup ecosystem. the space command will help be a linchpin for the space economy. >> i want to roll on to health care questions. your administration has proposed a public health insurance option. the public option would be run
by private insurance companies but offer plans with government oversight. many states have tried this before and not been successful. why do you think it can work in colorado? >> this is a public/private option. it could mean anything. it could mean the government is running an insurer. it could mean there's a nonprofit. it could mean a co-op. we've come up with a practical plan where this would be a public option administered by the companies to provide competition. in 22 counties in our state there's only one choice. you don't have that downward pressure on prices. how can we introduce that competition into the market that drives down rates, safbsz consumers money, with a level of innovation? >> how is the insurance industry in your state responded to this? >> i think for many it's kind of a reflection point for the
insurance industry. under some options like single payer, they might be cut out. we're saying, you're not cut out of this model but there might be a little haircut you take. clearly it's better than government run models but not as good as the free-for-all and current state of the industry. >> what's the state of the plan? something you're pushing through the legislature soon? >> yeah. so we had a bill last session that formalized the process around doing it. there would be an implementation bill this legislative session that will be introduced in the coming weeks. >> do you think that you will need price caps on hospitals or any other sort of services to make this work? >> it really generates the savings for consumers, which is the goal, and the savings for consumers are between 10% and 20% on premiums, in three ways. it recaptures the pharmaceutic rebates, and dollar for dollar
applies those towards reductions. it reduces the loss for medical companies. so the small market will get the same deal that the large group market has, which is that 85 cents paid will go to reimbursements instead of 80. and then third, cost controls on runaway hospital costs. we have to have leverage from the providers, hospitals, enough for them to continue to be successful, profitable, thrive in our state, but rein in some of this over charging and excess charges that have run rampant. >> staying on health care, the trump administration has pushed for federal regulations that would allow some states to import from canada, prescription drugs. have you had any conversations with hhs or any other parts of the administration about this? >> yeah. colorado is one of the states along with florida that has
passed legislation importing drugs from canada. those negotiations are continuing. we would need a waiver. the devil is always in the details to work out what that program looks like. >> do you think that this is something that could happen soon for residents of your state? >> i do. i think that the administration is interested in getting it done by the end of the year. we'll see if we can dot all the i's and cross all the t's. >> have you discussed that with the democratic candidates? would they be onboard? >> i haven't. this bill was bipartisan in our legislature, sponsored by democrats, attracted support. we see this as a work-around. this is not the solution. a lot needs to happen federally on prescription drug pricing. we have other ideas in our state. but this is a pragmatic work-around to the extortion of
american consumers by pharmaceutic companies. >> related subject here, paid family leave. so democratic effort to pass 12 weeks of paid family leave failed in 2019 in colorado. your take on how to move forward is a little different from other liberal law plairkz. in your view the public should pay as opposed to a new state program to fund it. why? >> i'm optimistic that colorado can get this done. there are bipartisan bills nationally about paid family leave. it is a concept that's time is long overdue. several states have implemented different models. we're excited in colorado to make sure more coloradans can get paid family leave. we have unpaid, the federal family medical leave act, employers 50 and up, unpaid, many companies provide paid. but i guess the question is how do we extend that to more people
and they can afford the time off to be with kids or ailing family members. >> moving on to education, you're the founder of two charter schools for under served students. they're sometimes a controversial option for people. they say a lot of people say they take funding away from public schools, and many of the democratic presidential candidates have come out against them and criticized charter schools. what do you think of that argument, that charter schools sometimes take funding and resources away from public schools who have to serve everyone? >> again, every state is going to have a different charter school law. in our state they're public schools like any other. they have local site-based administration. we have a hybrid school that's kind of midway between the two. we encourage exlerns, no different whether conventional neighborhood, innovation school,
charter. we value the quality of the education. all schools are held accountable. it's an exciting model. i think some of the federal discussion is what if any role should the federal government play in the grants. i worked on that. i'm supportive of that federal role in expanding what works on the district side and charter school side. within our state, different districts have different opinions in how to incorporate them into public education. >> you would oppose eliminating that federal funding? >> yeah, many charter schools in kofrmt would help get them off the ground. i would say that's an important funding source with rigorous accountability for expanding what works in public education. >> moving on to homelessness here. homelessness has been on the rise in california -- or colorado, especially in the denver metro area.
what is your administration doing to help rehouse people especially as housing prices in that area go up so much? >> we are just convening in the next week or two all the major metropolitan mayors dealing with this issue, to use kind of that convenient role of the governorship to be able to find a constructive state partnership with our local government partners. our mayors are in the forefront. the state funds, affordable housing projects, we just opened one in denver that the state helped fund, which we were able to repurpose a former hotel, a equality inn. rather than build from scratch, basically within six months, a bill could have taken 18 months and at afñy
they would cost taxpayers a lot more money, and it doesn't make sense if they're not a threat. do they have a mental health and substance abuse interface, interface with housing, it may be law enforcement. they have to know where and how to interface with the system and pass them off to the appropriate folks who can help make sure they're able to regain their dignity and support themselves. >> and you talked about moving toward rapid rehousing for some unhoused populations.
is your administration doing anything to address the wider issue of elevated housing costs in colorado? >> yeah. there's a correlation there between homelessness and housing costs. it's not the sole -- if you brought down housing costs by 10% you'd still have a homeless population, but you'd have less. because some people on the margins would be able to afford it. how do we bring down prices? state has a role. one thing we're looking at is portfolio of state-owned land that we're working on strategic aagreements, some might require legislation, some not, to how we can develop and convey those long-term leases or sales for the purpose of affordable housing. again a lot of the day-to-day piece is the local zoning authorities. cities, unincorporated counties, they have to zone for more affordable housing near where people work to be able to meet the demand. >> let's turn to national politics here. we had to get to it eventually.
back in 2017 when you were in congress, you voted to impeach president trump. now that that process is all said and done, how do you think the democrats in congress conducted themselves throughout that? and do you think they made a good case? >> we were very proud of colorado's jason crow, one of the managers who fulfilled his duty with great competency and integrity. we're proud. now the ultimately jurors will be the electorate in november. i think the misconduct of president trump will be one of the factors that many voters will make their decisions based on, and others will of course oppose him because of his policies. >> colorado is a swing state and you're actually a super tuesday state as well. have you been in contact with any of the democratic presidential candidates? >> yeah, they're starting to pay attention to our state. ballots go out in the next week. it's interesting that all of our unaffiliated voters, which is a
plurament, 40%, the largest group in our state, they all get democratic and republican ballots, so they can return which they want. we'll have a wide participation and exciting presidential primary, both sides of the aisle. and the candidates are starting to come to colorado. we've seen in recent weeks pete buttigieg and mike bloomberg and joe biden. so i mean they're all really starting to focus on colorado. >> the democratic field has a couple of bill airz that have been spending unprecedented amount of money in this race. what do you think of their role in this race, they can spend basically unlimited amounts we haven't been able to see before? >> money, it spends the same regardless whether it came from -- we have outside soft money and super pacs, candidates hard money, self-funding. what matters is kind of the -- whether the message is resonating with people. are these candidates, regardless
of super pac or money they earned, how is that message meznating with people? that's what we'll find out. >> have you decide how you're going to vote on super tuesday? >> i haven't. we have a terrific coloradan in the race, senator michael bennitt, and i've been supportive of his candidacy. we'll see where that goes and where the primary evolves. >> you're supportive but haven't decided? >> you have new hampshire, you have south carolina, and then i think what a lot of coloradans will do is say look, who's running, in the race, focusing on colorado, and who do you want to be the next president of the united states? >> excellent. we have a couple minutes. any questions for the governor? let's start over here. go over here. >> how are you? you were a great advocate of --
welfare the u.s., and obviously colorado is a state with agricultural -- outdoor pursuits. predators have been a big issue. there's a wolf reintroduction measure that may be on the ballot. there are been concerns about mountain lions. are you thinking about these issues? >> yeah. a lot. we actually sadly we just -- a very good bill that o would have banned puppy mills just narrowly failed. we hope to continue to work on that issue in some form in the future. but we've also -- several of our municipalities are removing some bans. we're continuing to work on both the companion animal front adds well as as you mention the the wild animal front where we have the first wolf pack to inhabit colorado since 1940.
recently returned to colorado. we've had lone wolfs come through for years, but this is the first healthy pack of six wolfs that is making our state its home. we're excited to welcome them. they're protected under the federal endangered species act. we continue to monitor that. we have a great diverse wildlie in our state. that's an important part of our value proposition for residents, outdoor tourism and recreation, our image as a state. we're proud of our wildlife and look forward to doing what we can to help restore areas and manage our areas effectively and compassionately. >> we have a question here. and if you could identify yourself that would be great. >> my name is addaly voc. i work at the energy nivtive. we produce the u.s. energy and
employment report. i wanted to circle back to a couple questions you had for the governor earlier on. natural tristate is shuttering its coal plants. i was wondering what you're doing to transition away from coal? >> we have 17 rural electric co-ops that contract with tri-states. we have three of those co-ops that are attempting to see seed from tristate, united power, law mauda, and then delta, which is several years further along. tri-state has come to the table, how do we fix that can , keep o colorado customer base, achieve benefits to rate payers and air
quality. our co-ops are limited to 5% local production. many of them have great geo physical characteristics for wind and solar and want to go above with community solar, small scale wind. it has the added benefit of providing good jobs in those communities. that's part of the discussion, as well as their plans to retire costly coal resources replacing them with lower renewable energy resources. the two areas most affected, craig and hayden, these large coal facilities and mines, we now have a more definitive timeline. and we have an office of just transition that's focused on how the economies of those areas are strong and resilient with opportunities for the workers and for areas like craig and hayden to thrive. >> i wanted to drill down on
some of those -- >> i provide aid lot of context because i know a lot of people didn't know about that. >> i wanted to drill down. your plan is for 100% renewables by 2040, hidery lek trik, things like that. exskel says their goal is 100% clean. those plus maybe a role for natural gas or coal with carbon capture. is that a discrepancy? is that something you are going to have to sort out with the utilities? >> i think we all see where it's going. colorado wants to win the future, position ourselves for the renewable energy future. there is still coal and natural gas. we talk about renewable. we use the definition that includes hydro, solar, wind, geo thermal, electric, those types of resources. we don't see fossil fuels as renewable. carbon capture, we want to make
sure it's rewarded. >> colorado is an oil and gas producing state as well. when you were elected was there a referendum on the ballot that would have curtailed oil and gas production near populated areas that failed. how can you reconcile your view for 100% rue nooubl future with such a lot part of the economy still producing fossil fuels? >> that depends on international commodities pricing. more on the oil side. because we have natural gas in western colorado but with the low pricing that activity has slowed. oil prices are still sufficient for the successful extraction in weld county and eastern colorado. what we did there is went to a system of local control. so we've tried to dissipate a
lot of the tensions that exist around homeowners and northern gas by increasing the authority of cities and counties do do the appropriate work around zoning and citing oil and gas in areas where it makes sense if they want to have it. >> so why you are approach to dealing with this is to let the market phase it out as opposed to putting relglations on it to phase it out through governmental action? >> there's a climate impact from the extraction process. we've been attentive to that, are building strongly on the -- colorado led the way on methane rules. we're bllg building around flaring, eliminating extraction with that process that occurs in colorado, is an important part of that as well. >> other audience questions? we've got one right here. hi, i'm katelin ward with the national counsel of state boards of nursing. states like colorado are moving
towards reciprocity agreements to assist with military spouses. are you seeing that that's something colorado is doing to ease the burden of occupational licensing? >> we support that. i don't think we're going to get all that done, universal reciprocity this year. but i think we're going to increase it. we have it for military spouses where for i believe it's one or two years automatic. we look forward to working with the legislature to extent that. we're excited about this direction of colorado is a state that has a lot of people moving and out, not only military, because we have a quality of life, hiking, skiing, wildlife, people who visit and choose to live there. we want to make sure they're able to practice their trade and support their families with a minimum of bureaucratic issues. >> i'm natalie ferdic, a
reporter with "politico." you mentioned coming back to cannabis, you mentioned protecting the market share. there's a couple bills on capitol hill that would do things with interstate commerce. some would protect states and some would open it up completely. what would be the better methodology for colorado's industry? >> i haven't seen those bills, so i'm not going to comment on what they are. the more we move towards a competitive industry the better. i think colorado businesses are ready to compete. if you open up nationally, you have the issue, in many of our neighboring states it remains illegal. you can't transport it across kansas if it's illegal in kansas even if it's legal to take it across the border. we view this as evolve being market like liquor and tobacco. there's a federal role.
we have the federal bureau of alcohol, tobacco and arms. i sponsored a bill to put marijuana into the same division, that's the appropriate level of federal oversight where it is a controlled substance but is allowed in states in local jurisdictions that allow it. >> in some states we've seen the industry become more opposed to federal legalization because that would open them up to competition from really cheap marijuana from california, oregon, places like that. have you seen that in your industry in colorado? >> colorado says, bring it on. we're excited to move in this direction nationally, and colorado led the way as one of the first two states to legalize recreational cannabis and we are ready to committee pete on a na and international stage. >> any more from the audience? >> ellen build, you spoke a
little bit about capping hospitals and services, their payments, as well as importing farm sukts. last year you made national news after signing the insulin caps at $100. is that something you're looking to extend to other pharmaceuticals or more on the i amportation and implementations with secretary azar? >> we were exciting to cap it at $100 for diabetics. we're even more interested at getting at the real cast drivers. it's -- capping out of pocket is important, it doesn't get at the cost control piece because it's more of a cost shifting. but we are very excited to also work on the harder work of cost controls. it's plielly harder but ultimately when we spend twice our gdp percentage than any other country, it's where we will have the greatest rewards,
by tackling that issue head on. >> excellent. i think we've only got about a minute left. do you want to make any news this morning? want to tell us who you're going to end up voting for on super tuesday? >> colorado is a great state. our primary ballots go out next week. it's earlier. there's two groups of super tuesday states, the ones that actually vote on super tuesday and the one where 90% of the people have voted by then. we're in that category where almost everybody will have voted by then, and i expect high participation in our state. we're excited to invite the candidates and their entourages to stay in our hotels and spend money in our restaurants. it will be good for the economy. maybe they can go skiing and catch an extra day or two. >> i would love to as well. thank you so much for coming back for a second year. we appreciate it.
>> thank you, gavin. [ applause ] we've got katelin emma and gia roemando of rhode island. hey, just a quick note. the governor of rhode island is en route from the airport. she will be here imminently. we've had travel delays because of the crazy weather and wind. so sit tight. she'll be here in five minutes, i'm sure, and we'll get everything started. okay? thanks. ♪
again, we are waiting for the governor of rhode island at the state solutions conference. this gathering is an opportunity for state governor to come together in washington to talk about their approaches to solving various problems in their state. the rhode island governor is next. we understand she's late because of weather conditions. while we wait for her. remarks from our panel. >> we are thrilled to have governor hudson here and talk a little bit about the economy and politics and trade and everything else and everything that's going on in the news these days. anyway, i am economic chief
correspondent. thank you governor for joining us for state solutions. we have a lot to cover. we'll talk about the phase one china deal. it is a special concern in arkansas. agriculture and manufacture is crucial. >> thank you, everyone for staying patience. >> we'll have to cut our time short with the governor because she has places to be. we'll get down a a number of questions and have discussions
of state policies of the time that we have. my name is katelyn, i am a congressional reporter for capitol hill and "politico." quick reminder for guys here, please tweet your questions with the hashtag and we'll get through one or two. here is our rhode island governor, gina romano. recently delivered her sixth state of address. we have a lot to get to. definitely want to talk and dig in on policies and the chart time that we have. i kind of wanted some news you made earlier this week regarding 2020. you endorsed michael bloomberg for president. you're former chair of
democratic decisions. vice president joe biden endorsed you as well. i am wondering why bloomberg who still sort of see, he's feeding momentum and why not some of the candidates stood out in iowa or what they are. why have you decided to back mayor bloomberg and services. >> thank you for having me. i will apologize for delays. i got off the flight and came right here. we were delayed at the province and they had a lot of bad weather in the area. i have decided to enforce bloomberg for president.
for me that ought to be for a top priority. if that's not clear by now, we would not watch the sham impeachment proceeding and the defiant partisan state of the union knows it is time for a change and i think bloomberg have the best chance of beating him. secondly, you mentioned i was chair of the governor. what governor mike bloomberg has his run on things, very successful. a huge company he started in the law office. he ran the city of new york. the biggest and most complicated of america. he ran it successfully both years and you know frankly.
you have to fix the roads, provide healthcare and respond to people and make sure the trains are running on time quite literally. subways and new york city. he did that. created half a million jobs in his ten years taking after 9/11 when the city was on its needs. the fact that i like his chance in november, i think he's a great leader. the president's job is an executive job. i am an admire of vice president biden and his service and you know you mentioned pete buttigieg who's soaring, i think he's a fantastic public servant, too. we have to be real and practical in 2020. we have to be focused on winning. for me it was not that difficult
to endorse mike. >> okay, let's dig into some state policies. i know rhode island is facing a projected $180 million budget deficit. and the government is facing $1 trillion. in certain researching the state and preparations of this. this is a drop in the bucket, is it? i know it plays out differently on the state level and the state environment. you said the same time you don't want to cut healthcare or medicaid or backpack on any of the ambitious policies or you push through so far. what are these tough choices you have to make.
>> we can't keep doing things the same way. we have to deliver services different ways and effectively and partner with businesses and nonprofits. yes, you have to make cuts, yes, you have to balance the budget, i provide my budget to my legislatures a few weeks ago. that was the balanced budget. i think that's very important. but, there is a lot of innovation and different ways of doing things and a lot of investment. so, at the same time we have a deficit and i am committed to raising taxes, we also need to invest. the 50% increase is the public pre-k classroom. it calls again for two years
tuition free community college for every high school graduate. something i started a few years ago that's massively successful. it calls for big investment and the housing is near crisis in rhode island in many places. so one of our innovations in this budget is around medicaid. medicaid is about a third of rhode island's budget. which is quite some where to most state as medicaid expansion as you will know. we have to figure out how to put the lid on cause without hurting folks by cutting and reducing eligibility. one innovative idea that i have in this year's budget is to say that if you are a full-time employee, you make so little
that your medicaid eligible, by the way was tens of thousands of people who fall into that category. the employer has to provide you with health insurance coverage and you have to take it. but, if medicaid is more generous than what your company provides then we'll make up the gap. >> let's say you work for walmart. you live in rhode island. you are currently on medicaid, going forward walmart has to give you health insurance and you have to take it. let's say walmart's health insurance requires large copays and premiums.
the employee is no worse off. but the employer didn't get a free ride anymore with medicaid. they're going to provide you with health insurance. i think that'll make us healthier and helping our budget. frankly, i think it is the right thing to do. >> as a solution for tackling this deficit in addition to capping healthcare cost, you have talked about wanting to pursue lealizati pursue legalization. i kn why do you think this is a realistic solution to increasing state's revenues and how can you get this done? >> so let me say that it is not that i want to per se, in fact, the first four years of my term
as governor, i resisted. and the reason to do it -- the fact we, tiny state and small, nestled between navigate massachusetts and a couple of legs from new york. massachusetts has legalized use of marijuana. so if you talk to the state troopers or you talk to teachers in schools, they'll tell you it is here. whether you like it or not. it is here. for my office in the state house and province to the closest marijuana shop in massachusetts is about a 10 minute drive.
so to pretend that we don't have marijuana. let's say it okay, fine, in light of that, let's do the right thing to keep it in our state. let's have a responsible way to regulate adult use of marijuana. >> increase investment in public safety and increase investment in social equity to many injustices and the way we have done and this country done throughout policing. it is a realistic proposal to figure out what's there. >> i think and i learned
something as governor. >> so i am asking this them to hold hands and do their jobs and study it and look at it and get sta smarter. if we don't do it this year or we'll do it next year. we should be smart about it. interesting innovations when it comes to hyper ed. i know you promise to provide two-year tuition free, you want to make a permanent program. how do you plan to do that. this is popular proposal that
democrats have embraced including on the national stage. is this idea of two-year tuition free, is that scaleable and realistic? >> absolutely. at the end of the day, this is what this is about in my case. that's not necessarily your college degree but it is some degree pass credential high school. a day of getting a decent family supporting middle class job with just a high school degree are essentially gone or completely gone soon. so it is just an issue of basic
equity and clearance. how do you say to people you need to pass high school to get a job, by the way, you have to go bankrupt and get into debt to get a degree. it is completely unfair in policy. >> so a few years and that's why i have invested in the program and career and education and two years tuition free community college. in the time that we have done this, two years tuition free community college, we see a tripling of our on time graduation rates at our community college. >> it is amazing. a few million dollars a year. we see it tripling. we see a nine-fold increase of students of color graduating at our community colleges. for me it is fairness and it is equity and good for the economy. it is imminently affordable.
i hope legislation would not cost anymore money. just make it permanent. because if they don't make it permanent, it is set to expire this year and it will be a crime to pull the rug out under from so many young people giving them the successful program. >> so we want to keep you on schedule. i want to make sure we squeeze in some questions from the audience on twitter. anyone have a question they would like to ask? yes? >> i think you are really good. why do you think the other way around? education from k through 12.
rather than after four years, they don't understand an education and they don't understand how to manage the government so now they have a pp, if you just push education and spend more government budget eventually instead of corrupt in the government and society. everybody knows how to solve the problem than rather than corrupting families. >> well, actually i think you
are touching an interesting point when it comes to improving education. i wanted to ask actually about the district province, i know that that school district is currently in the midst of the state. i was a former education reporter before i cover the federal budget. he talked a little bit about improving education and what your marching results are. >> so in november of last year, a few months ago. i decided to take really unprecedented action to do a state take over of our city province public school system and the simple answer because the system is broken in new province. the school system has been
overly bureaucratic with business teachers and the community. you have schools and providence and i am not exaggerating this. the facility are so deteriorated that you hear stories of bats in classrooms and ground drinking water and no heat in the winter. decades of neglect in a dysfuncti dysfunctional system. i decided to take this action. by the way, it is not necessarily mine. in other words, we spend about $18,000 a year for out providen providence. the problem is we are not using that money widely. the marching orders are, number one, get rid of the culture that
the culture there needs to be a culture that says every student can learn and hold off students to higher expectations. black, white, hold them all to high expectations. standardized curriculum across the district. right now you are learning something different in third grade and it is not necessarily kind of unbelievable. more autonomy for principles so they can make decisions within their school. and a whole lot for teachers, high quality teacher so that you know, it is high standard, standardized high quality curriculum, different culture and success, big improvement facilities and support of teachers. >> well, we want you to get back
to your schedule. thank you very much for your time, i think we learned a lot. >> we have coveredme a lot. >> you feel that mayor bloomberg can best beat trump or marijuana is the future of where we are headed to the effort you are taking to capitol care cost there in the state. i want to thank you you guys for sticking with us and everyone tuning in via live stream. a big thanks to microsoft partnering with us. >> can i give a big shout-out with microsoft? >> certainly. >> the year i ran in 2014, 42 students, public schools in rhode island, took the ap science test. that's a serious problem.
zero of color and 12 girls. every job requires computer skills. so, i said okay, come on team, let's make this solution. and we partner with microsoft and they came to town and have really helped us to teach teachers how to teach computer science and providing curriculums and partnering with the university of rhode island and create a initiative, you should check it out. it is called cs for ri. we became the first state in america to teach computer science. last year, over a thousand rhode islanders took computer science in high school for college credit. >> wow. >> thank you, microsoft. thank you to all the teachers who up their game and learn how to teach it. we reported to a thousand and a few years. that's what we can do when we
think out of the box. >> great shout-out for csri. it is time for everybody's favorite part of the day. we invite you to stick around with us and have a cup of coffee and have some lunch and the second half of our program should be starting at 1:15. >> thank you so much. [ applause ] >> the united states and the soviet union meant to discuss a post world war ii germany. sunday at 4:00 p.m. eastern on american history tv, real america. >> i come from the road of peace.
>> at 4:30 at oral history. we'll talk to herschel woody williams who recall his experiences as a marine. >> waking up and screaming and yelling and that kind of stuff. i thought everybody lost their minds for a second. i could not figure out what was going on. i caught on what was going on because -- i looked and there is no room there. >> this weekend, explore our nation's past on american history tv on c-span 3. president trump holds a rally in
manchester, new hampshire on monday, the day before the state's primary. live coverage begins on c-span 3. the new hampshire primary is on tuesday, results and candidates' speeches, starting at 7:30 p.m. listen on the free c-span radio app. >> the national association of secretary of state he will its winter conference here in washington, d.c. one of the sessions focusing on elections security and how to address misinformation campaign. this is about 45 minutes. >> we are joining for this winter conference for national security for our state and program elections security. it is my