Debra J. Saunders

I won't have to pay those steeply higher taxes, but that doesn't mean they do not come with a price. As Stanford economists Michael Boskin and John Cogan noted in The Wall Street Journal, the top 1 percent of earners often pay as much as half of the state's income taxes: "This extreme progressivity leads to boom-bust cycles of rapidly rising revenue followed by complete collapse." In other words: Plan Brown offers more of the suicide pact approach to taxation that put this gun to the heads of California voters.

Worst of all, it gives the super-rich one more reason to leave California and take with them the 10.3 percent they already are sending to Sacramento.

Joel Fox, editor of the conservative blog "Fox&Hounds," supported Prop 1A in 2009 because, even with its tax increases, it also included reforms, such as a spending cap. Early in the year, Fox notes, he, like others in the business community, was open, if warily so, to Brown's plan to raise taxes. But you could hear an audible gasp from business leaders when Brown cut a deal with the teachers union.

That deal produced a huge tax hike with no reforms. Prop 30 instead offers a $6.6 billion hike in K-14 spending, already approved by the Legislature, followed by the threat that $5.4 billion will be yanked if voters do not give them what they want. Kind of like blackmail.


Debra J. Saunders


 
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