Democrats addicted to tax increases

Scorpion - wikipediaFeb. 25, 2013

By Joseph Perkins

You’ve heard the familiar fable about the scorpion and the frog?

They meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog asks: “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion replies: “Because if I do, we’ll both drown and die.”

Satisfied, the frog agrees to ferry the scorpion across the stream. But when they reach midstream, the scorpion stings him. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they are both doomed, and with his last gasp asks, “Why?” To which the scorpion replies: “It’s my nature.”

That brings me to the Sacramento Democrats.

After the voters, in their questionable wisdom, delivered Democratic supermajorities in both chambers of the state Legislature, Senate President Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg cautioned his fellow Democrats: “The voters don’t want us, with our supermajority, to burst out of the gate to approve new taxes.”

Alas, the party of Steinberg can’t help itself. It’s the nature of Democrats to raise taxes.

Indeed, Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff notes that Dems already are proposing billions of dollars in new taxes this year, on top of the billions of dollars in new taxes the voters, in their questionable wisdom, approved this past November with Proposition 30.

Just last week, Sens. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, and Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, proposed a so-called oil extraction tax, which would give Dems another $2 billion to spend.

Evans failed to get similar legislation passed in 2009, which followed voters’ rejection in 2006 of a statewide ballot initiative, Proposition 87, which would have punished oil companies for extracting oil.

Car taxes

Assemblyman Henry Perea, D-Fresno, chair of the lower chamber’s alleged Moderate Caucus, introduced legislation last week that will increase or extend the state’s car taxes by $2.3 billion between now and 2023.

The fees are collected for purposes of smog abatement, air quality management, vehicle and boat registration and new tires. But as John Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, warns, “Money from this car tax hike (is) likely to end up in the black hole of the general fund,” where Dems can spend it however they like.

Huff also foresees other new taxes come up for votes before the Dem supermajorities in the Legislature.

That includes split roll property taxes, which would jack up taxes on commercial property, while leaving taxes on residential property as is. Split roll would fall hardest on small businesses, which would see their property tax bills rise by thousands of dollars a year. Doing so would be a major breach of the Proposition 13 tax cuts passed by voters in 1978.

Then there’s the proposal to lower the threshold to 55 percent for local approval of bonds and parcel taxes. By making it easier for local governments to raise revenues, Sacramento would be free to return to the general fund monies that currently go to cities and counties.

But the time the Dems finish raising taxes this year, the California electorate might very well suffer voter remorse. But they will have only themselves to blame for being stung by those scorpions in the state capital.

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