Before Raising Taxes ‘Wait a Minute’

It’s been reported that Speaker of the House Sam Rayburn told a friend “The three most important words in the English Language are ‘Waitäó_ aäó_ minute.'” Rayburn who served in Congress from 1913 to 1961 is an icon of the Democratic Party and his counsel would be of immense value to Jerry Brown and his free-spending allies in the Legislature.

Ever since Brown was sworn in for a new incarnation as governor he and like minded tax-takers have been demanding a new round of tax increases to balance the state budget. Brown has promised to cover half the $25 billion shortfall with cuts and half with tax increases in the spirit of “shared sacrifice.” After cutting an estimated $8 billion from state programs — while calling it $12 billion — he has attempted to stampede Republican legislators and the public into supporting his plan to place his very real tax increases on a special election ballot. Fortunately it is the Republicans who have been following Rayburn’s advice to be patient. For taxpayers this is already paying big dividends.

State officials have just revealed that income tax receipts are up $2.54 billion over projections and experts are saying there may be more to come. From the figures it appears that a mild economic recovery may be underway that will benefit both taxpayers and the state.

Administration spokesmen have responded almost as if the new revenue is an embarrassment saying the governor prefers to take a “prudent and conservative” approach i.e. make certain state officials have all the money they say they need regardless of the impact on average folks who would pay higher taxes.

Sadly this “prudent and conservative” approach does not apply when it comes to spending. Brown has just agreed to a number of sweetheart deals with government employee unions — unions that donated millions to his election campaign. These contracts do not come close to achieving the ten percent savings the governor promised as part of his justification to ask for tax increases. Since signing off on the new contracts Brown has admitted that his pledge of a 10 percent saving through negotiations wasn’t really serious.

By not meeting savings goals and continuing to spend irresponsibly the governor and his legislative allies are creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Through overspending the Sacramento politicians can guarantee the state will run short on money.

While the governor has proven to be unreliable in meeting his commitment to spending reductions he remains rock solid in his pursuit of higher taxes and he has called in the liberal equivalent of the cavalry. Over the coming week Brown’s reinforcements are taking to the streets. Thousands of those who receive their paychecks from taxpayers will be taking time away from their government jobs to demonstrate and demand more. At rallies planned for the Capitol and other major cities it is extremely unlikely it will be mentioned that more money is already coming in to the state. After all more is never enough.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association — California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights.