Californians give Dems PIN numbers

Nov. 16, 2012

By Steven Greenhut

SACRAMENTO — After the election results came in, I started searching for two things: a stiff drink and a good out-of-state real estate agent.

The national election sends troubling signs about the direction of the country, but nothing much will change from the past four years, so we know what to expect, even if it isn’t particularly good.

But California voters have sent their state into some new and potentially dark territory, the results of which will soon be felt.

Before the election, I quoted the late journalist and social critic H.L. Mencken, and now is a good time to repeat his tart observation that democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want and deserve to get it … “good and hard.”

Californians are definitely going to feel the pain, not just in the passage of Proposition 30 and its direct hike in taxes.

The big news: It looks like voters have handed two-thirds legislative majorities to the Democrats. The state Senate is a sure thing, and final counting will likely yield supermajority control of the Assembly to the Democrats, thanks, in part, to North Orange County voters’ ousting of Assemblyman Chris Norby.

Currently, the only thing standing between California residents and an endless series of bumps in sales taxes, income taxes, gasoline taxes and business taxes has been the constitutional requirement that raising taxes requires a two-thirds vote.

Republicans in California don’t stand for much, but they have mostly stood together in opposition to tax increases. Likewise, Democrats — including the handful of “moderates” — have been unified in their promotion of higher taxes as the answer to California’s problems. Now the Democrats will have their way, early and often.

“It’s time to start anew and to live within our means but at the same time invest in the cornerstone of our future and of our economy, and that’s education,” Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, told CBS News. “I certainly don’t mean to suggest to my colleagues that the first thing we do is go out and raise more taxes,” he said.

Maybe not the first thing, but certainly the second and third things, if Steinberg runs the Senate the way he has up until now. Gov. Jerry Brown and other high-ranking Democrats assured the public that there will be no tax frenzy. As a headline put it, they “vow restraint,” but don’t believe them. Look at the bills the Legislature passed even when tax increases were not assured.

Public-sector unions pulled out the stops in the election to pass taxes and get Democrats unlimited power. That support comes with demands, and those unions figure to soon be receiving even higher pay and benefit levels.

Dems in charge

The only good news is that the Democrats will now completely own the state’s budget and fiscal situation. They will no longer be able to blame Republicans for holding up solutions to the state’s budgetary problems.

In recent years, good-government reformers have complained about gridlock in the state Capitol. Sympathetic voters approved a proposition in 2010 to eliminate the supermajority vote requirement for passing budgets.

Since then Republicans have been irrelevant to the budgeting process, since Democrats for years have held solid majorities in both chambers.

Whatever their flaws and inconsistencies, Republicans at least provided some counterbalance to Democratic priorities. Now, they figure to be completely irrelevant to most everything, especially when it comes to the most important power, taxing authority.

At his victory party, Gov. Jerry Brown, who threatened schools with $6 billion in cuts if voters didn’t give him what he wanted, was described as “jubilant” by the Sacramento Bee: “Brown declared victory after his tax initiative seized a narrow lead Tuesday night, calling Proposition 30 a ‘unifying force’ that countered the ‘Kool-Aid of the market ideologues.'”

That provides meaningful insight into his thinking — he sees a world in which raising taxes and building government is a great and unifying goal, and where allowing individuals to pursue their dreams and grow businesses is ideological Kool-Aid.

The governor, by the way, is more moderate than most of his fellow party members in the government.

Prop. 39

Voters also approved Prop. 39. “Democrats received a second tax boost Tuesday when Prop. 39 passed, raising $1 billion annually for clean energy programs and the state budget by increasing taxes on multistate companies based elsewhere,” reported the Bee.

Consider that result a harbinger of things to come. Many businesses based in California backed Prop. 39, figuring that it’s better to stick it to out-of-state companies than have the state government come after them.

But, as in all advanced welfare states, it’s only a matter of time before the taxers and regulators start coming for them.

While I don’t agree with a friend of mine who argued that state GOP officials ought to be placed head first in a vat of acid for their continued incompetence, I do agree that it’s time for rethinking party strategies. Republicans need to better articulate an alternative vision that is more consistent and libertarian, and that can reach beyond conservative bastions.

Then again, it may be too late. Carl DeMaio, a true GOP reformer who knows how to package free-market issues for a broad audience, lost the San Diego mayor’s race to an old-school union hack.

Prop. 32, which would have limited unions’ ability to extract dues from members to pay for the kind of bare-knuckle politics that paid off Tuesday, was beaten badly. That means that unions will continue to control the field.

After former Republican Assemblyman Chuck DeVore moved from Irvine to Austin, Texas, I chewed him out for abandoning California in its time of need. Turnabout is fair play, so he called me following this election to tease me about the new reality in California. He loves California but recommends Texas.

A lot more taxpaying Californians are going to start exploring housing options in Dallas and Houston, now that California voters have figuratively handed over to the Democrats the PIN numbers to their bank accounts.

I’m still not suggesting moving away, but it’s wise to keep a real estate agent’s number on speed dial as you watch the coming legislative session in Sacramento.

Steven Greenhut is vice president of journalism at the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity. Write to him at: [email protected]

18 comments

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  1. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 16 November, 2012, 14:29

    Why focus on the millions raised by the unions–collectives of middle-class individuals. The 80+ million put in by the Mungers and the 11 million that came from that secret non-profit in AZ to help defeat Prop. 30 and pass Prop. 32, were not chump change!

    Hope you enjoy that future red-neck state that you are going to move to–its your priviledge and its the American way.

    Reply this comment
  2. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 November, 2012, 14:42

    Why focus on the millions raised by the unions–collectives of middle-class individuals. The 80+ million put in by the Mungers and the 11 million that came from that secret non-profit in AZ to help defeat Prop. 30 and pass Prop. 32, were not chump change

    Public unions are not “middle class”.

    The CTA alone puts over $400 million per year into CA politics.

    Reply this comment
  3. Douglas
    Douglas 16 November, 2012, 15:51

    $400,000 million a year! Dang!

    Reply this comment
  4. Bob
    Bob 16 November, 2012, 16:15

    This article seems depressingly familiar.

    Wasn’t it published on CalWatchdog.com a few days after the election (except the Norby part)?

    Reply this comment
  5. Bob
    Bob 16 November, 2012, 16:22

    “It’s time to start anew and to live within our means…

    Hah! That’s hillarious coming from Steiny.

    “…but at the same time invest in the cornerstone of our future…”

    When Steiny says anything that resembles economic sanity it is ALWAYS followed by a BUT which means ignore everything I just said about economic sanity and is followed by something coming from Steiny’s heiny.

    “Invest in our future” is ALWAYS code for payoff special interests and get Steiny more power and money.

    So bend over and smile. Steiny’s gonna give it to you good and hard, guaranteed.

    And the Sheeple of Colliefornia (as Ahnode calls it) baa with alacrity.

    Reply this comment
  6. eck
    eck 16 November, 2012, 19:11

    Rex, wake up, the unions, and especially the CTA, ARE middle class. They’re paid real well!

    Reply this comment
  7. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 November, 2012, 19:59

    The AVERAGE TEACHER comps $108K per year, for a 37 week work year, @ 36 hours per week, that is $80/hour baby Einstein.

    Median hourly wage in CA is $12/hour.

    Teachers are not middle class when they’re comping 600%-700% more than the median wage.

    Man I love spanking these troughers nsto submission with the truth and facts 😉

    Reply this comment
  8. Bob
    Bob 16 November, 2012, 20:55

    What people never mention about gummit employees is the value of their benefits, particularly pentions and healthcare.

    You can pretty much take their salaries and double them to get the present value of their total compensation.

    Of course the unions, the politicians, their apologists and the brainwashed never mention this.

    Reply this comment
  9. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 16 November, 2012, 23:44

    You can double cop, ff and public safety salary to get their benefit/overall compensation costs, general employees about 75%. For teachers the average cash salary is $68K, the high is $150K, benefits are about 75%, and remember, 37 week work year and 36 hour work weeks.

    Reply this comment
  10. Ted Steele, Prosecutor
    Ted Steele, Prosecutor 17 November, 2012, 07:19

    Greeny— You’ll be missed! You might like Nevada or Mississippi—–? I can see you in either place. You were great for Orange County— You gave us Tony Rackakass and the Schroeders—- I wonder if he’s bailed out yet? Or maybe he was set up by the cops? AAAAAAnyway—- God Bless ya Greeny, and goodbye!

    Reply this comment
  11. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 November, 2012, 11:24

    While I don’t agree with a friend of mine who argued that state GOP officials ought to be placed head first in a vat of acid for their continued incompetence, I do agree that it’s time for rethinking party strategies. Republicans need to better articulate an alternative vision that is more consistent and libertarian, and that can reach beyond conservative bastions.

    I don’t view the budget problems as dems or repugs, I view it as public employees vs the private sector.

    Public comp, especially pensions, are well known issues today, very different from 5 years ago.

    If the dems and repugs educated themselves the pension tax problems will fix itself.

    Reply this comment
  12. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 17 November, 2012, 12:25

    Divide and Conquer huh? Well, you will lose. All public sector workers have families who are private sector, and there is no war between the two. The problem is ideologies which go to far to the extreme right or left.

    Reply this comment
  13. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 November, 2012, 13:31

    Divide and Conquer???? The public unions are destroying the poor and middle class, if that is “Divide and Conquer” then you are right seesaw.

    Reply this comment
  14. Ted Steele, Prosecutor
    Ted Steele, Prosecutor 17 November, 2012, 15:59

    Public unions! LOL—the sky is falling– Prop 30 passed! Oh man poodle—- you are one funny ignorant mutt!

    lol

    0 for 14 ™ !

    Please oh prescient one —- more predictions!

    Reply this comment
  15. Rex the Wonder Dog!
    Rex the Wonder Dog! 17 November, 2012, 16:13

    Public unions= 1%ers:)

    I also predict CalTURDS gets a haircut in the SB BK case 🙂

    Teddy, you KNOW I am rarely wrong 🙂

    Reply this comment
  16. Sean Morham
    Sean Morham 18 November, 2012, 12:27

    “Public Servants”(the 5 1/2 hour day/4 days a week wizards) are destined to be food in the new California.

    Reply this comment
  17. SeeSaw
    SeeSaw 18 November, 2012, 23:38

    I worked 10/hr. day/4-day weeks, SM. You are a moron to keep making such moronic posts!

    Reply this comment
  18. us citizen
    us citizen 19 November, 2012, 13:53

    Im starting to look around. I was born here but Ive pretty much had it. (And no I would not hire you, U Haul…………) Rex is pretty right on. Too bad the dimwits dont or cant see this.

    Reply this comment

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