Meg Whitman to speak at San Diego regional chamber event

Former eBay Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman is scheduled to speak to the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, stressing her campaign’s themes — creating jobs, cutting government spending and improving education.

Whitman’s appearance comes at a time when she is sparring with her rival for the Republican gubernatorial nomination — Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner — over taxes.

Whitman was endorsed Monday by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, whose president, Jon Coupal, praised her as “the only reliable fiscal conservative in the race.”

He said that “her commitment to cutting spending and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse is the way to restore prosperity to the Golden State.”

The Poizner campaign responded with communications director Jarrod Agen saying, “Meg Whitman’s sole record on taxes includes supporting Pete Wilson’s unprecedented tax increases, which have cost Californians over $112 billion in higher taxes, and opposing across-the-board tax cuts for Californians.”

Wilson, California’s governor from 1991-99, is chairman of Whitman’s campaign.

Poizner has proposed cutting the state’s personal income tax rates, the sales tax rate and corporate tax rate — each by 10 percent — and the capital gains tax rate by 50 percent to stimulate the state’s economy.

His campaign estimates that the cuts would result in increased economic activity and an inflation-adjusted 1.77 percent increase in state tax revenues the first year after they are enacted and a 4.94 percent increase the second year.

Whitman campaign press secretary Sarah Pompei said, “Poizner will have a hard time hiding behind his new-found fiscal conservatism as more Californians learn about his past support for higher taxes and his refusal to curb spending at the Department of Insurance.”

Whitman has proposed cutting taxes to give businesses the incentive to invest, expand and hire more workers.

In Thursday’s speech, she is expected to reiterate her goals of creating at least 2 million private sector jobs by 2015 and reducing the state workforce by 40,000, mainly by not replacing workers as they leave.

On education, Whitman would have each school graded from A to F to help parents easily determine how well their children’s schools are doing; allow parents to move their children out of failing schools; insist on a “vibrant testing program” to measure student performance; give higher pay to outstanding teachers and those in mathematics and science; and automatically convert schools that fail to improve after three years to charter schools.