by Katy Grimes | July 16, 2012 8:05 am
July 16, 2012
By Katy Grimes
I write this with a heavy heart, under duress, and with a longing for what once was, in my home state…
“The land of milk and honey” has curdled and soured.
“The Golden State” has lost its sheen and is now irreversibly tarnished.
“The Grape State” withered on the vine.
“The El Dorado State” is bankrupt.
And the “California — Find Yourself Here” state is now saying to it’s taxpayers and working residents, “go back whence you came.”
The message is clear. All it takes to confirm this is a little travel outside of California.
Whenever I travel, folks kindly ask, “Where y’all from?” When “California” is the answer, two things happen: either they recoil in disgust, or they say, “Ah, that’s too bad.”
I am a native Californian, but I also was a Navy brat as a young child, and had the distinct privilege of traveling through nearly every state, and living in a few other states for short durations. But I grew up in and still live in Sacramento, CA.
This past year I’ve traveled to several times to other states. Each time, I’ve been among groups of people from all over the country. And each time, they ask, “What the hell is going on in California?”
The ensuing discussions always cover state and local politics, thanks to dominant San Francisco and Los Angeles politics. And people always ask about our Congress-made water crisis in the Central Valley. It seems that everyone in the country knows about the political Central Valley drought and agricultural devastation, and ask why it hasn’t been fixed.
California has become an embarrassment, but that’s not all. Under Democratic policies and the strong arm of Gov. Jerry Brown, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez, California stinks. Eureka! We’re broke!
Upon arriving home from Florida last week, I was welcomed with the news that “California has the worst credit rating of any state now and the nation’s worst credit rating record over the past 11 years, according to a new nationwide compilation by the Pew Center on the States,” the Sacramento Bee reported. “The states with the lowest grades typically have trouble keeping their spending in line with their tax revenues,” Pew’s Stephen C. Fehr writes in an explanation of the research.
Stockton, Mammoth Lakes and now San Bernardino have filed bankruptcy. As more cities finally realize they cannot pay their preposterous pensions, expect to see more of them file suit.
California’s residents already know that the state is a house of cards. Since just 2000, 1.5 million people have left the state for greener pastures and normal political theaters. In the last two decades, more than 4 million Californians have moved elsewhere–and it’s mostly young families leaving.
Apparently a legacy is of the utmost importance to politicians, since Brown wasn’t content with the damage he inflicted on California the first two terms as governor. Apparently dissatisfied with creating the I-5 bottleneck only five minutes after the interstate highway was finished, Brown’s redux has even more disastrous political policies: High-Speed Rail, green buildings, green cars, green air, tax increases, higher state spending and plush union contracts — it’s so Brown.
“Where [Brown] with the state going bankrupt is even thinking about an expenditure like this is beyond comprehension, Joel Kotkin commented in a recent Wall Street Journal interview. “When the schools are falling apart, when the roads are falling apart, the bridges are unsafe, the state economy is in free fall. We’re still doing much worse than the rest of the country, we’ve got this growing permanent welfare class, and high-speed rail is going to solve this?”
Brown’s anti-traditional energy policies could be the unwinding of the state, if high-speed rail doesn’t finish us off first. We should be beefing up our oil drilling and hydroelectric dams, not shutting them down. And, as Kotkin points out, “25 billion barrels of oil are sitting untapped in the vast Monterey and Bakersfield shale deposits.”
Under Brown’s leadership (a term I use very loosely), California’s spending is up, not down. To meet this spending increase, Brown has authored a classic class-envy, tax-the-rich ballot initiative, increasing the income taxes on those who make $250,000 or more.
As State Budget Solutions recently reported:
“This newest concoction known as “Schools and Local Public Safety Protection Act of 2012,” according to its website, hits the “highest earners” with a 3% income tax increase, and includes smaller increases on those earning between $250,000 and $1 million. Already, the notion that this is strictly a ‘Millionaire’s Tax’ is shattered. And despite rhetoric that ‘the middle class and poor are not impacted,’ the proposal still raises the sales tax by a quarter cent to 7.75%. It therefore increases a tax that will be felt by literally all Californians.
“No matter the merits of raising taxes as a means of closing California’s $9.2 billion deficit, the truth about the nature of the plan deserves to be known. Californian’s should not be told something is only a millionaire’s tax when in actuality it is far more, and will impact everyone. Jerry Brown’s latest push will hit far more than just those earning more than $1 million. It will be felt by every Californian at every cash register across the state.”
As Brown famously explained recently when asked how $250,000 is a millionaire’s tax, he said, “Anybody who makes $250,000 becomes a millionaire very quickly if you save it. You just need four years,” Brown said. “It is a millionaires tax. It taxes millionaires, right?”
As a native daughter, I am weeping for my state.
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