‘Anti-tax Demagogues’ Smashing CA?

John Seiler:

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.”

Moderate? Ha!


“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



Write a comment
  1. Rob McMillin
    Rob McMillin 19 March, 2012, 12:20

    The argument that California “is just a Democratic state” is true based on voter registration, though the disconnect between voter registration and elective office is readily explained by gerrymandering.

    Californians believe, by and large, in the transformative power of the public purse to magically provide them with as many services as they (or their elected representatives) can vote up.

    Reply this comment
  2. Bob
    Bob 19 March, 2012, 13:59

    Good ol’ Skeleton…the answer is ALWAYS more and higher taxes.

    Reply this comment
  3. Rex The Wonder Dog!
    Rex The Wonder Dog! 20 March, 2012, 12:37

    George is a public union hack. I sent him an email once pointing out one of his msitakes and he tried to deflect it bigtime.

    Reply this comment
  4. Cheerful Cynic
    Cheerful Cynic 20 March, 2012, 14:00

    George’s office in the downtown Media Temple


    will become a nice condominium in less than five years.

    Reply this comment
  5. queeg
    queeg 20 March, 2012, 17:41

    Lots against you producers…..lots…..they will finish you off…taxes and regulations..

    Too many of them!!!

    Reply this comment
  6. Tough Love
    Tough Love 21 March, 2012, 07:33

    It’s simple “reality” … the rate of pension accrual MUST be very significantly cut (by 50+%) for all CURRENT (yes CURRENT) workers.

    The word “reality” is highlighted because “reality” ALWAYS trumps “legality”.

    Greed HAS consequences.

    Reply this comment
  7. SkippingDog
    SkippingDog 21 March, 2012, 09:37

    Same kooks, different day. The accurate answer to the question posed by the title is “yes.”

    Reply this comment
  8. Tough Love
    Tough Love 21 March, 2012, 09:40

    Ah …Skippy, and other gravy train rider still in denial.

    Reply this comment
  9. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 21 March, 2012, 11:39

    Perhaps you are the one denial TL. You are never going to succeed in cutting our pensions–so just enjoy your own dream-visions about all the chaos you want to cause.

    Reply this comment
  10. Tough Love
    Tough Love 21 March, 2012, 14:11


    Few people realize (and yes, I know the structure is different in CA than in AL) but Prichard Al. never filed bankruptcy AND was ordered multiple times by the AL courts to fund their workers pensions.

    While ignoring the Courts and never filing bankruptcy, they just ran out of Plan assets and stopped paying benefits. Eventually the workers agreed to accept 1/3 of promised pensions (out of annual operating funds).

    Remember … “reality” ALWAYS trumps “legality”.

    Reply this comment
  11. queeg
    queeg 21 March, 2012, 15:03

    Don’t you just love arrogant incompetent government workers?

    Your pensions will be evaluated fairly…..but they will be adjusted….

    Reply this comment
  12. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 21 March, 2012, 19:02

    queez, I am not arrogant; was not an incompetent worker, and neither were my cohorts! My pension was evaluated fairly, when I received it–it is protected by law, and you will not be taking away one penny of it!

    Reply this comment

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