TRANSCRIPT: ABC News Interviews Meg Whitman

ABC NEWS: "I heard you say that you thought the court decision striking down key provisions of Proposition 187 was rightly decided. Are you concerned that you might alienate conservative voters who thought 187 was the right policy?"

WHITMAN: "I would say having spent now, almost 9 months, traveling this state from Eureka to the Inland Empire to San Diego, the number one issue on the minds of voters is jobs. So this is where I spend the bulk of my time. And when I'm asked about immigration, I tell them what I think: Say what you mean, mean what you say. And, for the most part, I have not felt too much pushback on something like 187. People understand that it was struck down by the courts. And then I talk about securing the border, holding employers accountable for hiring undocumented workers, ending sanctuary cities."

Meg Whitman

ABC NEWS: "I want to talk to you about this theme of cutting spending. You keep coming back to it. It sounds very easy when you talk about it. Isn't there going to be some pain? Won't some popular programs like Healthy Families get cut? What's the pain that's going to come with this? Do people need to realize that it's not going to be purely fat? Is there some that is going to hurt? What's the part that will hurt?"

WHITMAN: "My view is that there are some things that can be done just by running it more efficiently and more effectively, where we can deliver the same amount of services for less, by deploying technology. But what will happen, Teddy, is we'll shrink the number of people who work for the State of California. Today, we have about 350,000 people. Frankly, we need to skinny that down by about 40,000. And so there is real pain. And the way that I came up with that number is I said, 'Okay, what are the revenues to the general fund of the State of California today. And it's about $80 to $85 billion. Right now it's about $85 billion but it's on its way to $80. When was the last time that revenues were about at that level in the State of California? It turns out in 2004-2005. So my next question was, how many more people work for the state of California today? The answer was 40,000. They have hired 40,000 more people."

ABC NEWS: "What's the breakdown of that 40,000 that you see going away?"

WHITMAN: "Basically, what you do is you go back to exactly the number of people you had in 2004-2005. It turns out there has not been much growth in front-line employees – police, firefighters, teachers; much of the growth has been in the bureaucracy up in Sacramento. And so you have to go each department by department and go back to where we were. Now, you can get there through attrition: 12,000 people, roughly, retire from the civil service each year. If you put a hiring freeze on, it would be down by 36,000 people in three years. So that's the way that I want to approach that. But there is some gain in shrinking the size of an organization. You know, in a workplace, when you shrink the size of a workforce, there is pain there. But there is no question: we have a government that we can no longer afford.That is the cold, hard fact. So we have to make this more efficient. We have to sunset programs that no longer work. We have to eliminate waste and fraud. We must do this. There is always skepticism around this. Every politician says they are going to do that. Yeah, except for that, we have to do it because we're at a crisis."

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