California election stirs up a tempest

Nov. 12, 2012

By Joseph Perkins

As I watched the election returns this past Tuesday night (and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning), I was reminded of a line from “The Tempest,” one of the Bard’s greatest hits:

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”

Indeed, with California Democrats at long last attaining two-thirds majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly, and with the governorship already in the hands of Democrat Jerry Brown, the devils, er, the Democrats now enjoy complete control in Sacramento.

They can raise California’s existing taxes, which are already sky-high, even higher. And they almost certainly will come up with new taxes – a mileage tax, a plastic bag tax, a soda tax, ad infinitum.

Not even the sky’s the limit anymore with the Democrat supermajority in the Legislature; and with the Republican minority thoroughly emasculated.

So what will Democrats do with all the additional tax dollars flowing into the state treasury? Well some will go, as promised, to close the state’s budget deficit. But some more will go to new spending.

Like high-speed rail to nowhere. And state subsidies of Hollywood movie and television productions. And handouts to “green” companies like Solyndra, the bankrupt solar company, and Fisker Automotive, the floundering electric car company.

More tax revenue also will enable the Sacramento Democrats to reward their special interest friends.

Expect them to rehire all the public school teachers laid off during the past three years (notwithstanding that from 1992 to 2009 the number of teachers increased 36 percent while public school enrollment increased over 24 percent).

Also look for them throw a few billion dollars at enviros for clean energy projects and energy efficiency in public buildings.

There will be hidden tax hikes as well

Then there are the hidden taxes that almost certainly will proliferate with Democrat hegemony in the state capital. Indeed, if the Golden State’s CEOs thought their various industries overregulated before Tuesday’s election, they ain’t seen nothing yet.

How about a regulation, targeting home builders, requiring cities to take into account access to healthy food and urban agriculture as a condition of approval for all new residential developments? Or a reg, targeting fast-serve restaurants, banning ion polystyrene food containers?

Yet, while there is much gnashing of teeth in California’s over-regulated business community, among couples earning $250,000 or more that will be hit with Gov. Brown’s new “millionaires” tax, among those who fear even greater special interest influence in Sacramento, all was not lost on Election Day.

For the tempest that swept Democrats into their new supermajority could ultimately prove the party’s undoing; could ultimately lead to a GOP revival in California. That’s because, as Gov. Brown likes to quote, “To whom much has been given, much will be expected.”

The voters have given Gov. Brown and his fellow Democrats near absolute power in Sacramento, so they rightfully expect the Democrats – facing no obstruction to speak of from Republicans – to solve the state’s longstanding problems; to give the Golden State the good government it has so sorely lacked for so many years.

That means growing the state economy. Getting the nearly 2 million jobless Californians back to work. Balancing the state budget on time, and with no legerdemain. Improving the performance of public school students. Reducing state energy prices, including electricity and gasoline. And lowering the cost of doing business in the Golden State, which remains the nation’s highest.

I don’t expect the Democrats to achieve all of these things. But, if they somehow surprise, I’ll be the first to give the devils their due.


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  1. Robert
    Robert 12 November, 2012, 11:13

    Past performance is the best indicator of future behavior. There is no reason to expect that a state government now free to tax and spend as necessary will do less of it. We were once the fifth economy of the world, now we are the ninth and dropping. Forget the rich leaving the state, it is the middle class burdened by ever increasing taxes and wacky new age regulations whose rear running lights you will see heading away from the Golden State. Yes, in time a super-majority emboldened by special interest groups and an electorate hungry for more entitlements will bring this great state to the point of collapse and maybe reverse the trend. The damage will be done. As with the Federal government, there comes a tipping point where the entitled class will out number those who supply the tax base. Change through elections cannot happen in this environment. It can only happen in the presence of pain as a result of bad decisions. We can hope for the best, but like our country CA must endure the spending hangover that is sure to come. Only then will the adults in this state seek change.

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  2. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 12 November, 2012, 19:51


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  3. Ulysses Uhaul
    Ulysses Uhaul 13 November, 2012, 09:08

    Robert….how depressing….sun came up today…no Mayans in short palm fronds or bones in their noses at Albertsons this morning….

    Get a life….or you’ll end up like Donkey, Dys, Poodle, Hondo chanting doomer songs about their ancestor trolls under the bridge.

    Reply this comment
  4. Bob Smith
    Bob Smith 14 November, 2012, 00:16

    How can the GOP revive? The whole purpose of the new “two best” voting system is to push Republicans off the ballot entirely. The voters can’t put the GOP in power if there are no Republicans on the ballot to vote for.

    Reply this comment
  5. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 November, 2012, 14:54

    The “two best” primary system was a baby born by Republican Maldonado, Bob, in exchange for his, “yes” vote on the 2009 tax increases. The legislature put it on the ballot, and the voters approved it. In the future, be careful what you wish for.

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