Senator Bill Emmerson Speaks at The Beer Hunter

Senator Bill Emmerson The Beer Hunter played host to Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce's coffee...

Senator Bill Emmerson
The Beer Hunter played host to Menifee Valley Chamber of Commerce's coffee mixer this morning, welcoming in State Senator Bill Emmerson as the guest speaker.

A audience of 60 people sat in attendance while the senator touched on a variety of popular topics, including the hottest subject across the State, the budget.

"The legislative analyst, which is our office of budget, and that's a non-partisan organization, tells us that we're going to have a $20 billion deficit every year for the next five years." the senator reported. "California today has about $35 billion dollars of budget debt. And we pay roughly $4 to $6 million a year just to pay the interest on that."

Redistricting was another subject Emmerson touched on, specifically how it would affect residents of Menifee.

"I just wanted to tell all of you who live in Menifee, I'm still going to represent you." But he went on to highlight a few new dynamics that could change the political landscape of California.

"The districts are being divided by a commission this year instead of the legislature.", the Senator explain, referring to the "Voters First Act" that was passed by voters under Proposition 11 of 2008.

"I think the commission has done a fairly good job, but there's a couple of areas along the Central Coast, like San Jose and south, that I think the commission failed to take into consideration the public's interest, and I think they've made some mistakes, and may lead to a referendum. But generally, I think the maps were done fairly well. Certainly in a state where Democrats outnumber Republicans, they've made the districts as competitive by party registration as they could."

Emmerson mentioned another dynamic, a growing number of voters leaving the two major political parties. "The biggest growth factor in the State of California is Decline to State", the senator said. "Roughly 20% of the voters are so embarrassed by both parties, they decided to identify themselves as decline to state, and that's the fastest growing political party in California.

"The other is that we've passed a new primary system where it's the top two vote getters, not by party, that will run off in the November election. So you could have a district where the top two vote getters are Republicans, or they could be Democrats, that will run off in the November election."

Those three dynamics, a growing trend of voters abandoning the Democratic and Republican parties, and a new primary system, could make big impacts on legislators in the future. "So if you're a political scientist, you'll be fascinated to see how the 2012 elections will play out." Emmerson said.

He also touched on employment in the Inland Empire, noting that this area of Southern California is experiencing one of the worst unemployment rates in the state.

"The job numbers are not at all good in our area; we happen to have one of the largest unemployment numbers outside of Imperial County.", he said, citing a complicated set of regulations, along with environmental policies, as the cause for stifling job growth in the IE. "I have legislation that's been introduced that will create an a $3,000 tax incentive to businesses that start hiring again, along with a number of other proposals for reducing duplication of regulation."