‘Anti-tax Demagogues’ Smashing CA?
Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton is worth reading because he’s almost always wrong. His latest column blames “anti-tax demagogues” for California’s disastrous condition.
How about, instead, a string of incompetent governors who refused to discipline the Legislature’s spendthrift ways by putting a restoration of the Gann Limit on the ballot? Gann worked great for the 10 years it was in operation, 1980-90, preventing budget volatility. It limited spending increases to the increases in inflation plus population growth. Since 1990, there has been nothing but budget chaos.
If Brown had called a Special Election at his January 2011 inaugural to put Gann before voters, it would have passed and Brown wouldn’t have any budget problems today. Same thing with Schwarzenegger in 2003.
Or how about the ultra-powerful government worker unions, that have bankrupted the state with exorbitant demands, usually met, for pay, perks and pensions?
And how ’bout them pensions? Why can’t they ever be reformed except at the irrelevant margins?
No, it’s those lousy, stinking taxpayers and their grubby desire to keep their own money — instead of seeing it poured down the government rathole — who are to blame. Especially the “anti-tax demagogues” among them.
“A Democratic governor — basically a moderate — doesn’t find it worthwhile to dicker with conservatives. Brown futilely tried for several months last year to reach a deal with Republican lawmakers in which they’d provide the necessary two-thirds legislative vote to place a tax measure on the state ballot.”
“Republican leaders wouldn’t negotiate at all. A handful of unranked GOP senators agreed to talk. But for whatever reason — Brown wouldn’t cross labor, Republicans feared anti-tax demagogues — bargaining broke down.”
Skelton doesn’t even mention that Brown refused to twin a pension reform initiative with his tax-increase initiative. If Brown had done so, he would have gotten enough Republicans on his side to plunk a tax-increase measure on a special-election ballot. People don’t sell out for nothing. When Abel Maldonado sold out his Republican state Senate vote for tax increases back in 2009, in return Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger gave Maldo the lieutenant governor’s seat and Proposition 14, the Top Two election initiative. The initiative might garner Maldo a seat in the U.S. Congress.
“But wait! Let’s see how Californians vote in November.
“If they vote against the tax increase, it would mean — again — that Californians side with the GOP on fiscal issues. And then we’d need to ask why they’re refusing to elect more Republicans to state office.
“Mainly it’s because Republican candidates are too scary, especially to independents and women on social issues and Latinos on immigration.”
Actually, it’s because a) Republicans in this state are incompetent. Look at Meg Whitman’s 2010 campaign. And b) No matter what, this is just a Democratic state.
But because California is so massively dysfunctional, why would Republicans want to claim it anyway? It’s like wanting to take over North Korea.
The there’s the state’s pension crisis of at least $500 billion in pension debt, according to a Stanford University study. Any business with any sense as fast as it can gets out of Dodge, Calif.
Any business that remains here should have its executives’ heads examined under funds provided by Proposition 63, the insane 2004 initiative that jacked up income taxes on millionaires to establish mental health programs. Most of the money backing the initiative came — surprise! — from mental health associations whose members collected the tax lucre.
Brown’s new tax increase would impose another 3 percent income tax on such people, raising their tax rate to 13.3 percent, which would by far be the highest state tax in the nation. Hawaii currently has the highest at a mere 11 percent.
At this point, state politics is little more than special interests all poaching on what little money so far has been left to taxpayers.
And Skelton blames “anti-tax demagogues”!
March 19, 2012
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John Seiler: The L.A. Times’ tax obsession goes back decades. I remember back when George Deukmejian was governor (1982-1990), the
More than three years after appalling evidence emerged that a teacher at a school in an impoverished neighborhood in south