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With Arnold, Let's Not Forget the Little Things
Get the out for vote for the propositions...
[by Jon Coupal] 10/18/05

California taxpayers, given that they spend their time working and looking after themselves and their families, are not always aware of the intricacies of government action and the manner in which, as a class, they are being fleeced.

Most citizens are generally aware of the biggest battles involving policy and politics. But even on the major issues, the lack of understanding is striking. With less than three weeks prior to the November special election, voters are only now starting to educate themselves.

Whether or not Californians are experiencing "ballot fatigue," we still have to gear up for yet another trip to the voting booth. At issue are eight measures, four of which are the elements of Governor Schwarzenegger's reform package.

These four measures, Propositions 74,75,76 & 77, are all important and deserve a yes vote. But taxpayers who may not have the time to carefully study these initiatives might be asking why should we trust this Governor who is urging us to vote for this reform package?

Jon Coupal

Jon Coupal is an attorney and president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association -- California's largest taxpayer organization with offices in Los Angeles and Sacramento. [go to website] [go to Coupal index]

There are obvious and not so obvious answers to this question. Under the obvious category, this Governor's first official act was to repeal the dreaded car tax that inflicted disproportionate pain upon California's middle class. Another obvious answer is that, for homeowners, we can rejoice in the fact that Arnold has embraced Proposition 13 like a long-lost brother. He not only likes Prop 13, he understands how this 27-year-old initiative has made housing more affordable for millions of Californians.

This Governor promised not to raise taxes and he has kept that promise. When other Republican governors throughout this nation have traveled down the tax increase road, this Governor has refused to take a single step. Even more remarkable is that he has declined such a move in the face of extraordinary pressure from a far-left-leaning legislature.

So much for the obvious stuff. For those of us who are tax policy junkies, we also see actions from this administration on a day-to-day basis that hearten us about the current direction of California.

Some of the lesser known actions by Governor Schwarzenegger include his willingness to use the veto power to stop anti-taxpayer legislation. Last week, his veto pen must have run nearly dry.

Among the bad bills he vetoed were four bills strenuously opposed by Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association which would have imposed additional taxes on cars. These proposed tax increases were not huge -- $5 here, $6 there - but the Governor agreed with us that the issue was not so much the taxes themselves, but rather the fact that local voters were denied the right to vote on them.

By labeling these incremental car taxes as "fees," the tax-and-spend majority in the Legislature hoped to avoid the voter approval requirements placed on taxes by Jarvis-sponsored Proposition 218. Taxpayers can see right through this "taxes disguised as fees" scam and fortunately, so can Arnold. Every one of his veto messages noted that voters were being deprived of the right to vote on these levies.

All told, Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed 232 bills, with a veto percentage of 24.1% -- a near record. Many of these bills were "fee" bills and others were attempts to authorized wasteful expenditures.

For those of us who follow the small battles as well as the overall war, we can safely say that taxpayers have both big and little reasons to trust this Governor and his efforts to move the reform train further down the track. CRO

Jon Coupal is an attorney and President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

copyright 2005 Howard Jarvis Taxpayers association



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