Got taxes? Posted by: McQ
on Monday, August 18, 2008
Government indulges in spending in areas it really has no business being in, further indulges in collections to hopefully modify behavior (another thing it has no business doing) and taxes - their only means for paying for any of this stuff - must go up.
Already on the November ballot are nearly $17 billion in statewide bonds, ranging from $9.95 billion for a high-speed passenger train system linking Southern California to the Bay Area, to $5 billion that would give motorists cash rebates for buying fuel-efficient vehicles.
The Los Angeles Unified School District is asking voters to approve a $7 billion bond measure for school construction and charters. The city of Los Angeles is seeking a $36-a-year parcel tax on all properties to fund anti-gang programs.
Los Angeles County's Board of Supervisors is trying to place the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's proposed half-percent sales-tax increase on the ballot.
The Los Angeles Community College District is seeking $3.5 billion in bonds for construction projects.
Meanwhile, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed raising the statewide sales tax by 1percent for three years.
$17 billion in new taxes isn't small change. Couple that with the promise of higher taxes at a national level if the Democrats win and you can imagine the state of mind of some in CA. The only saving grace for CA is these taxes must survive a referendum. Unfortunately, on a national level, the only referendum will be on Nov. 4th.
As you might imagine, many in CA aren't at all happy with this trend:
"What's happening is the taxpayers are under assault like we've never seen before," said Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. "We have not seen an assault on taxpayers of this magnitude since the tax revolt leading up to Proposition 13 three decades ago.
"Our elected leadership, at both the state and local levels, is pushing California into the `coveted' position of the highest-tax state in America. If that happens, it will be economic suicide for the Golden State."
Of course, driving much of this is a 15 billion dollar deficit in CA. And I'm sure that such things as the high speed train will certainly come in under budget (cough, cough) and the 5 billion give away, er cash rebates, couldn't be used to reduce that deficit instead. And I'm also sure that CA couldn't, in its wildest dreams, consider deeper cuts in spending, could it?
And with the economic downturn, a $15 billion state budget deficit and declines in anticipated revenue from property and sales taxes, McIntosh said elected officials statewide have no choice but to propose tax increases and bond measures to continue providing government services.
"The fact is the state has not invested in its infrastructure in the last 25 or 30 years, so California counties have stepped forward and proposed tax increases to fund specific transportation and flood-control projects," McIntosh said.
"It depends on the level of service people expect of their government.
Does it? Or does it depend on how frantically bureaucrats scramble to protect their empires and justify their continued existence?
If, for instance, anticipated revenue from property and sales taxes will probably decline due to an economic downturn, why is the state attempting to begin a project that will cost a minimum of $9 billion or give $5 billion away?
Last week, the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Foundation released a report that found California's state-local tax burden currently is the sixth-highest in the nation at 10.5 percent of per-capita incomes - costing Golden State taxpayers an average of $4,752 a year.
The push for more taxes and bonds comes even as a growing numbers of residents are struggling to keep up amid a slowing housing market, rising debt and rapidly escalating costs of gas, food and other expenses.
And they want more. Unsurprisingly, the head of an association of bureaucrats thinks taxes aren't high enough:
But Paul McIntosh, executive director of the California State Association of Counties, said he doesn't think the state's tax burden is so high.
Of course he doesn't - he'd be out of a job if he did and so would many of his constituents. They're with the government, and with your money, they're here to help.
Hopefully on referendum day, CA voters will tell them that the way to cut the deficit is by cutting spending and not through tax increases.
The sad thing is that they’re raising taxes on pie-in-the-sky dream projects while avoiding necessary infrastructure maintenance like the levees around Sacramento. When those go (and they’re already leaking), a significant portion of the capital city is going to be under water.
its sad really, they government taxes them to pay for handouts, then when they cant pay for the handouts they increase taxes which makes it harder for the people to buy necessities and in turn they look to the government for even more handouts which they dutifully promise and thus cant pay for and thus raise taxes more...its a racket and the people are too naive to notice. Considering the overabundance of people of luxury leading and setting expectations in the state i kind of understand it. Soon CA will be a state full of rich actors and street sleeping hobos. The middle class will all move to AZ.
Well, there’s one interesting side effect. Music people are moving from LA to Nashville in droves. The rest of the country may think there’s a real estate crisis on, but they’re building condos like crazy down around Music Row, and they’re going for pretty good prices.
What I’m wondering is how much more of this kind of activity is going on that’s more diffuse. California may be setting themselves up for quite a nasty spiral if they start driving their citizens with money somewhere else.