Split Roll for CalChamber Members?

Steven Greenhut: Flashreport’s Jon Fleischman rightly takes the California Chamber of Commerce to task for its apparent sell out of taxpayers. The chamber’s unprincipled president and CEO Allan Zaremberg was a booster of the record-setting tax increases in the 2009 budget deal and under his watch the chamber has become more of a big-government group than advocate for the state’s hard-pressed business community. When do you ever hear the chamber blast excessive regulations or call for cuts in government or reform of government services? The ballpark answer: never. Fleischman called it wishful thinking to believe that the chamber’s leadership would ever challenge the status quo in Sacramento. It buys access and many of its board members are Democrats. During the Gray Davis era, 90 percent of the chamber’s political money went to Democrats.

The chamber shills for redevelopment agencies and regularly supports massive tax increases. Ironically, the unions always point to the business community as a counterweight to their influence, yet with the chamber and other similar groups the business community usually is pushing in the same direction as organized labor. The chamber thinks that it can buy protection from the Democrats, but that doesn’t happen. The Dems always come back for more, always regulate more, always make business the bad guy. Then cowardly business leaders come hat in hand back to the Democrats and give the real tax fighters the back of their hand.

Since Zaremberg loves taxes, maybe the Democrats should impose a split-rolls tax on chamber members. Maybe they can add a special income and other business taxes on these members, given that the chamber’s leadership loves to impose taxes on the rest of us. Since taxes are apparently good for the state and good for business, then the chamber’s business members should lead the way and start with large tax increases on them first. If that doesn’t work, then perhaps the businesses interested in saving the state rather than giving away the store should form a new business group that really fights for them.

MARCH 4, 2011

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