Would you patronize a business whose advertising has been repeatedly revealed by the press as misleading?
That is how numerous news outlets have characterized new television ads created by the promoters of Proposition 30. “Brown’s TV ads for California tax initiative mislead voters” says KCBS “misleading” says the Associated Press “misleading” says the San Jose Mercury News.
Now let’s be frank the word “misleading” is polite journalistic speak for “lying.” Reporters without an ax to grind are saying that Proposition 30 backers are lying to the public about their tax increase measure.
Supporters of Proposition 30 are looking to boost the state sales tax — already the highest in the nation — and income taxes — we have the second highest rate — and want voters to believe that Proposition 30 is all about the schools. One Yes on 30 ad declares “Money must go to the classroom and can’t be touched by Sacramento politicians.”
Perhaps the Sacramento politicians and their government employee union allies who are behind Proposition 30 should check with the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office which says “Future actions of the Governor and Legislature would determine the use of these funds” as well as read the official Title and Summary which states “These additional revenues would be available to fund programs in the state budget.” Sure doesn’t sound like the money will go into a lockbox for schools.
The pay-for-play politicians backing Proposition 30 just approved putting $70 billion into a bullet train — an amount of money that could pay for a lot of teachers classrooms and textbooks — and are now claiming that they do not have enough money to fully fund education. Yet the California School Boards Association says they want to make it clear to the public that the Governor’s initiative does not provide new funding for schools. And the Los Angeles Times reports “The money to be raised by Proposition 30 äó_ would not be earmarked specifically for schools."
The real issue here is greater than the Proposition 30 tax increase. The issue is trust.
Two years ago most of the Sacramento political class pushed for passage of an initiative that requires the Legislature to pass a balanced budget on time or forfeit their pay until they do so. But when they failed to pass a balanced budget last year they successfully argued in court that no one but the Legislature itself has the authority to judge the budget or dock their pay. Emboldened by their court victory lawmakers approved a budget this June with a 6% increase in spending without sufficient funds to pay for it. The only way to cover the shortfall is to convince voters to approve a tax increase and what is the best way to do that? Tell the public through television advertising that it is all about the state’s most popular program education. But it is not really.
The evidence points in only one direction: Proposition 30 is just a $50 billion tax increase so Sacramento politicians can continue their irresponsible spending and send their constituents the bill.
Most sensible people would not trust the owners of a business that had been caught repeatedly lying to the public. Voters must now ask themselves if they can trust their money to politicians who can’t even be trusted to tell the truth in their ads.
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.