Sir Winston Churchill with imitable clarity once stated that "for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle." It simply makes no sense whatsoever, but that won’t keep Sacramento’s big spending Democrats from trying.
This June, the Governor signed California’s $115 billion budget. Historic tax collection by the state has resulted in the largest spending plan in our state’s history. Surprising fiscal policy gurus on both sides of the aisle, tax collections dramatically outpaced projections of both the Governor’s Department of Finance as well as the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office. Tax revenues continued to surge even after budget adoption, exceeding the budget by over $600 million – all of which, under our state’s constitution must go to fund K-12 education in accordance with Prop 98.
Unfortunately for tax paying families, the ink was not even dry on the final budget before Sacramento Democrats called for two special sessions for the purpose of increasing taxes even further. Simply put, while awash in excess tax dollars that far exceeded the Governor’s own projections, Sacramento Democrats immediately got to work on yet another shakedown of hard working families – they want more taxes.
Specifically, Democrats are asking for a tax increase of $7.88 per person, per month, on every resident with health insurance (24 million Californians). Any politician making the claim that this tax increase will not result in increased healthcare costs is delusional. History tells us time and again that these tax increases will fall squarely on consumers and no amount of spin from Sacramento Democrats will change that reality. Further, the Senate Democrats are proposing a 12 cent per gallon tax increase, a “road access charge” of $35 per vehicle annually, and a $35 increase on vehicle registration to pay for road repairs that should have been completed through the budget. Adding insult to injury, Democrats are trying to steamroll these proposals in the next four weeks with no taxpayer oversight or input. In the two special sessions called by Governor Brown, the Democrats have proposed two tax increases, just months after approving the largest budget in state history.
This has been the modus operandi for Sacramento’s big government Democrats for decades, but it has rarely been so brazen. This spend then tax approach has resulted in California having one of the most oppressive tax structures and worst business climates in the nation.
Our current smoke and mirrors budget was sold on the pretense of providing for “essential services” such as transportation, healthcare, and addressing the state’s severe water crisis. The reality was the Democrats once again decided to expand currently failing programs and check off a wish list of pet projects such as high speed rail and expanding MediCal to non-California residents while demonstrating a cavalier disregard for the basic needs of Californians. After intentionally structuring the budget to fail to pay for essential services, the Democrats set the stage to take more hard earned money from taxpayers during these special sessions.
Regardless of political affiliation, Californians should find it offensive that the Sacramento Democrats are trying to fabricate an “emergency” just to once again increase taxes. Conversely, on the other side of the aisle, Republicans have consistently put forward initiatives that would fund these essential services within our current budget, not use our most in need as political props. Whether it is the Assembly Republicans’ $6.6 billion transportation proposal that was introduced in June or the Senate Republicans’ proposal to fund developmental disability services and restore reimbursement rates, Republicans have continuously advanced common sense solutions without resorting to raising taxes on Californians.
The Democrats current call for more taxes is thinly veiled and inexcusable. It is time for taxpayers in California to step up and say NO to Sacramento’s big spending Democrats and NO to new taxes.