Thursday, September 30, 2010

State Treasurer - I can't decide

If you want to feel like you need a shower after watching a debate, watch this one:

On the issues, I have to say I think Doug Ducey makes more sense to me than Andre Cherney.

Here's what I can pull from this debate:

Doug Ducey wants to be a responsible banker of the state's finances, fine. They both do. More radically (but its only slightly more radical), he wants to work with the governor to find ways to entice businesses to move to Arizona. How he would do that? Its unknown. But he definitely wants to use the office to be sort of an assistant to the Governor?

Andre Cherney wants to use the Treasurer's office to audit the state's finances and to expose wasteful state spending. I agree with Ducey on this point, I'm not sure a Democratic Treasurer playing partisan games with what is most likely going to be a Republican controlled legislature is a good idea. I think that's an over-reach and will probably be a pretty ineffective tactic.

He also states he wants to use state funds to invest in Arizona companies to promote clean energy and biotech technologies. Again, I agree with Ducey, this seems risky and not an appropriate use of state funds designated and allocated for schools.

Ideologically, I agree with much of what Cherney advocates - ensure money for schools, I wouldn't mind seeing state funds invested in clean energy and biotech and other areas to spur innovation in the state. I also agree that legislature needs better oversight.

But should the person to advocate for these sorts of things be the State Treasurer? Maybe. But he definitely shouldn't be pushing for ideological causes with state funds. If the legislature wants to allocate a slice of the state funds for these kinds of purposes, it should be decided upon there - the legislative branch working with the governor. The treasurer simply should not be risking state funds in this way.

I also disagree with Cherney that Dean Martin has done a poor job as the Treasurer. I'm not knowledgeable enough to know for sure, but my sense is that Dean Martin is a stand up guy whose done a good job in a touch economic climate. He would have been a much better candidate for governor than Jan Brewer. He gets no blame for the fact that we lost a lot of money because of the stock market crash (everything crashed - there were no safe places to put your money in 2008).

Having said that, Doug Ducey rubs me the wrong way. He's this smooth talking corporate guy who says all the right things but you wonder if he's just telling you what you want to hear. His failure to pay his taxes on time is concerning. I also have heard that there were issues with Cold Stone Creamery - too rapid growth, too many franchises too close together which hurt the individual franchise owners in order to boost corporate profits.

And the way he tried to group Cherney with President Obama and then blame Obama for our recession was dreadful. I realize it was a political ploy, but it was stupid and dishonest (I know Ducey realizes Obama did not drive our economy into the ditch, it was pretty well in the ditch when he took office).

And who cares anyways, Cherney is not Obama. Stick with the issues.

So, it seems like we have the choice between uninspiring candidates for Treasurer, which is too bad.

By the way, I endorsed Barbara Leff for Republican nomination for treasure. I stand by that. I think she would have been the the better choice between these two.

But again, I'm basing this opinion off of one flimsy interview. I'm open to your suggestions.

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