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  With New Confidence, [CA Controller] Westly Lays Out His Plan for Victory
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Last EditedArmyDem  Apr 19, 2006 12:12pm
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MediaNewspaper - Los Angeles Times
News DateWednesday, April 19, 2006 06:10:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionAs governor, he says he would pare budget gap by revamping lottery and pushing revenue collection. He sees tax hikes as a last resort.

By Peter Nicholas, Times Staff Writer
April 19, 2006

SACRAMENTO — Once considered a longshot in the governor's race, state Controller Steve Westly looked every bit the Democratic front-runner Tuesday as he laid out his approach for challenging Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in the November election.

Westly, addressing the Sacramento Press Club with one recent poll showing him leading the Democratic primary campaign, strode the stage confidently as he offered suggestions for narrowing the state's chronic budget shortfalls. In the midst of a technical discourse on efficiencies in government, he joked with a photographer who snapped his picture: "You get that?"

Westly said he would be reluctant to raise taxes but would not rule out the possibility.

The hotel conference room where he appeared swelled with more than 100 journalists, political consultants and guests — an impressive turnout by capital insiders. They came to see the occupant of one of the state's more obscure offices deliver a PowerPoint presentation complete with bar charts and state procurement projections. After Westly finished, reporters and TV camera crews surrounded him, prolonging the question-and-answer session.

Westly said the state can improve its finances through smarter purchasing, aggressive tax collection and a revamping of the lottery. Some of those ideas were championed by the Schwarzenegger administration in the proposed government overhaul the governor announced in 2004, though they have yet to be put in place.
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