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San Francisco
California’s Death and Taxes
by Adam Sparks 4/1/08

“California does not have a revenue problem; California has a spending problem.”
Candidate Arnold Schartzenneger, 2003

When Arnold ran for office during the recall, he was swept in on a tidal wave of discontent.  Most Californians saw a budget that was out of control with no fiscal safeguards.    Millions of Californians agreed with the governator and he won in a landslide.  We were overtaxed, not under taxed.  The governator was to be the new sheriff in town.  He would cut the budget, root out fraud and waste and trim the fat.  Our muscle bound superhero was just the man for the job.  Our budget was, and continues to be, busting at the seams.  It’s rife with waste, fraud, the costs of absorbing a burgeoning illegal alien population, entitlements that outpace inflation, inept contract negotiations with everyone from bureaucrats, to prison guards to teachers unions.  The lack of any fiscal discipline, the very kind you and I have to manage our own family’s finances, has now left most state and county coffers flowing red ink.   

Adam Sparks

[go to Sparks index]

Our budget expenses have outpaced inflation by an astronomical ratio of 3.5 to one in the past 4 years.  This crisis was forecast about 5 years ago from everyone from the Legislative Analyst to fiscal watchdogs like Sen. Tom McClintock.  The problem is the warnings fell on deaf ears.    Democrats have boosted general spending 32% in just four years to $103 billion. That's 8% a year.   Inflation for the same period was only 3% a year.  We now face a budget deficit of $14.5 billion, thank you, Dems.   

The Governator has tried to bring fiscal discipline to Sacramento.  But this superhero has found his nemesis:  the Democratic legislature, which has an overwhelming majority in the legislature, has successfully blocked every reform.  These politicians saw the present deficit crisis mounting for years. It was no surprise.  But they thought they’d wait - until it was too late. Why?  Easier to pass tax hikes than to trim fat.   And unfortunately for Californians, the Dems are in bed with the labor unions.   The California Teacher’s Union and the SEIU write their talking points.    They are among the largest campaign spending labor unions (yes they outspend business groups).  

Seven of the top ten political contributors (yes, special interests) represent labor unions and trial lawyers.  Who do you suppose is the biggest deep pocket in Sacramento?  Government employees (American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees).   Isn’t that a conflict of interest?  You betcha!   Government employees are stuffing the pockets of their bosses knowing that their bosses will be generous with other people’s money (yours and mine).  And they’re right, year after year.   Is it really any different than the mafia giving the judge a million dollars before he gives a verdict in their case?  No.

The Gang of Three

Now comes a gang of three- Assemblyman De Saulnier, Assemblywoman Loni Hancock and Sen.Torlakson who would like to abolish the last refuge of fiscal sanity; the need to get 2/3 of the legislature to pass a budget. This sole fiscal safeguard has prevented untold more insanity.   This safeguard allows the Republicans, who in California are united in their opposition to new taxes, to protect Californians from a new onslaught.  The gang of three has introduced a constitutional amendment that would not make it easier to separate you from your paycheck by giving the legislature the power by only a majority vote to pass a budget.  Count me out, buster.

They’re spiel is that they want to raise taxes on the rich.  Not you and me.  Great populist line.  Someone else rescues us; the mean oil companies and the mean rich people- the ones who, allegedly, aren’t paying their fair share.   You know, everyone but us.  Won’t happen, people.  Businesses will pass on the taxes to us. Duh.  Additionally, corporations in California are among the highest taxed in the nation.   California is already ranked as the 45th worst state to locate your business, considering such factors as high taxes, (we already have the nation’s highest tax rate for wealthy individuals), regulations and cost of doing business.  Most corporate headquarters have already left the state.  It seems as though there are still a few stragglers.  The gang of three will fix that.  They’d like the few remaining corporations to pack up and leave so that we can quickly rank as the 50th worst state in the nation.   Maybe after the last businesses leave, the gang of three can give you a job, mowing their lawns! CRO

copyright 2008 Adam Sparks




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