The governor and the majority in the Legislature are continuing to
hold up already hard-pressed Californians for more money.
Since we pay some of the highest taxes in the nation and have one of
the highest rates of unemployment one is reminded of the classic
western "The Magnificent Seven" where a bandit gang keeps returning
to the same poor village to rob the helpless farmers of what little
they possess. Where are Steve McQueen and Yul Brynner when we really
Of course our larcenous politicians would prefer to portray
themselves as being like Robin Hood taking from the rich and giving
to the needy. But several of their proposed tax hikes are highly
regressive — hitting low and middle income Californians the
hardest. This is especially true with the schemes to raise gas
taxes sales taxes and the car tax. And who are they giving to?
Well for them the especially needy include the state’s public
employees who according to the U.S. Census Bureau are the highest
paid in the nation.
While Californians are losing their jobs in a tough economy leaders
of the legislative majority are refusing to consider having state
workers take off just two unpaid days per month to help relieve the
state budget deficit. Ask the formerly employed workers of Circuit
City or Mervyns if they would have preferred a furlough of two days
a month in place of their current status: Unemployed. The
entitlement mentality of California’s public sector is staggering.
As Assembly and Senate leaders Bass and Steinberg push their
high-tax agenda by means fair and foul — they have tried to approve
new taxes with a simple majority vote in clear violation of the
state constitution and Proposition 13 — other politicians are
resorting to psychological warfare.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer has announced that without a new budget
all infrastructure projects will be halted and workers laid off.
And in a letter to state agencies Controller John Chiang says
unless the state gets more money as early as February 1 he will
begin paying the state’s bills with "registered warrants" or in
everyday language "IOUs." Not only would those doing business with
the state be paid with these warrants but honest taxpayers who
have paid their full share of taxes and then some would receive an
IOU in place of a refund.
So instead of tightening government’s belt as the rest of us are
doing with our businesses and families the politicians are holding
a gun to the the heads of taxpayers saying agree to pay more in
taxes or get a fistful of IOUs.
However further analysis shows this be be little more than a scare
tactic. Chiang aide Hallye Jordan has told NBC news IOUs are not the
only option. Even without a deficit resolution the state could
simple delay payment of refunds possibly up to the constitutional
deadline of May 30.
Californians should not give in to these threats or they will find
themselves submitting to these bandits every time they return for
more. The politicians’ right to tax and spend is upheld only by the
good will of the people. This they have forfeited. They must make
cuts to bring the budget into balance and give taxpayers a chance to
recover thrive and eventually produce more tax revenue for
government which at the moment seems to be these bandits’ only
Jon Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
— California’s largest taxpayer organization — which is dedicated
to the protection of Proposition 13 and promoting taxpayers’ rights.