"More is more," is one of my favorite slogans, and in the case of the battle against the misleading campaign being waged to pass Proposition 1A, a second major effort to get the truth out to the voters about the $16 billion in additional taxes that are triggered by its passage has kicked off. To complement the Herculean efforts already underway under the leadership of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, we now have Californians Against New Taxes – No On 1A. This committee kicked off its efforts with a press event in downtown Los Angeles, and we asked their Communications Director, longtime FR friend Jonathan Wilcox, to pen something on how that event went…
Riordan, Steel, Foy, Baric Kickoff Latest No on 1A Effort The formation of Californians Against New Taxes is set against the backdrop of a record expansion in state spending and we believe not coincidentally a record expansion of the state’s budget deficit, expected to reach more than $41 billion by this time next year. In response, bipartisan politicians have put Proposition 1A and other measures on the ballot. They call it budget reform. In reality, it will amount to a $16 billion tax increase.
The formation of Californians Against New Taxes is set against the backdrop of a record expansion in state spending and we believe not coincidentally a record expansion of the state’s budget deficit, expected to reach more than $41 billion by this time next year. In response, bipartisan politicians have put Proposition 1A and other measures on the ballot. They call it budget reform. In reality, it will amount to a $16 billion tax increase.
Given that voters are being asked to further subsidize Sacramento’s spending mistakes, campaigns like No on 1A are inevitable, and despite having less money and fewer endorsements the opposition is quickly collecting winning momentum.
So far, so good, as a new SurveyUSA poll shows Californians strongly opposed to most of the six measures on the May 19 special election ballot, with voters are against Proposition 1A, 42 percent to 29 percent.
A press conference in front of the Los Angeles office of State Controller kicking off the campaign drew local, statewide and national media coverage, and featured a broad coalition of supporters.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan (who has compiled a consistent record of supporting both Republican and Democrats candidates) condemned Proposition 1A. “This initiative was built on the backs of the poor and will unfairly burden the businesses that employ them. It’s a stupid idea.”
Board of Equalization Member Michelle Steel declared “Proposition 1A simply won’t work” and shared her own mother’s experience lacking the resources to oppose what she believed was an unjustified tax bill from the state. “She couldn’t afford to fight, so she just paid the bill. We’re here today to fight for taxpayers when no one else will.”
Ventura County Supervisor Peter Foy holds a nonpartisan office, but reinforced his conservative credentials with a concise telling of California’s state spending. “In 2006, the state budget was an all-time high, and it wasn’t enough. Same thing in 2007. Last year’s budget was $145 billion, and we have the biggest deficit ever. It wasn’t enough and it’ll never be enough.
Steven Baric, President of the California Republican Lawyers Association, decried “Sacramento’s tax-and-spend mentality, always demanding more and refusing to make do with less.” He added that “Californians are simply fed up and they don’t believe what the politicians are telling them.”
More than 30 years after its historic 1978 passage, Proposition 13 seems almost as much legend as legendary public policy. To supporters, it was a seminal moment when taxpayers put their collective foot down, touched off a nationwide tax revolt and presaged the landslide presidential election of Ronald Reagan two years later.
But many believe the most salient political lesson was this: Almost the entire political establishment – including many popular elected officials and respected institutions – not only opposed Prop. 13, but issued apocalyptic warnings if it passed. The voters heard the scare talk, and promptly called their bluff. The state not only survived, but thrived.
There are reasons to believe history is repeating itself. Once again, the voters and their activist allies stand nearly alone against the near-unanimous insistence of politicians, the media, government institutions and their chosen slate of initiatives.
No matter. If voters hold fast, Proposition 1A and its brethren will be a goner and the politics-as-usual system will be told to go back to the drawing board and do better.
Jonathan Wilcox is the Communications Director of Californians Against New Taxes – No on Proposition 1A. For more information, go to www.Defeat1A.com.
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