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Jon Fleischman

Jerry Brown Wants To Put A Gun To Voters’ Heads

The Sacramento Bee is reporting that it is Governor Jerry Brown’s plan to propose massive slashing of K-12 education funding unless the voters of California agree to vote to enact income, sales and car taxes on themselves, to generate an additional roughly $9 billion in additional tax revenue annually. 

These are the same "temporary" taxes enacted by the legislature in 2009 — proving that in the mind of California Democrat leaders, there is no such thing as a temporary tax increase.  But they are set to sunset (in fact the income taxes already did), thus they are new taxes.

As I wrote about Monday, it appears that Brown is planning to put into play the "Washington Monument" strategy — putting something so important to voters up for proposed cuts in an effort to get them to tax themselves (in a recession, no less).

The reality is that that Brown and legislative Democrats are putting forward what we call a false dilemma (defined by Wikopedia as a situation in which only two alternatives are considered, when in fact there are additional options).

  • Have we ended collective bargaining for public employees?
  • Have we gone through and eliminated every possible state employee or contractor possible, streamlining our workforce such as in the private sector?
  • Have we privatized anything (roads, prisons, universities)?
  • Have we made permanent changes to social welfare spending to prevent future spending abuse?
  • Have we put forward repealing unspent bonds (especially high speed rail)?
  • Have we eliminated all of those high-paying, cushy commissions that are landing pads for termed-out legislators?
  • How about implementing all of the cost-savings suggested in the comprehensive California Performance Review?
  • How about ending taxpayer-provided cars (two of them) for members of the legislature? 
  • Or how about ending the use of legislators using public funds to mail "push-surveys" to constituents?

Or other reforms that may not see as much immediate fiscal savings, but will pay off huge in the long-haul?  These could include…

  • Has the legislature repealed AB 32 which is going to be so costly to energy consumers (all of us)?
  • Have we reformed costly CEQA regulations?
  • Has the Governor and legislature played hardball with current employees to get them to agree to lowering unsustainable pension benefits?
  • What about meaningful education reforms, that restore local control and shrink the bloated education code?

I suspect the answer to all of these questions will be no. If Democrats think this kind of "gun to the heads of the voters" tactic of putting a false dilemma on the ballot is a good idea, then they should go ahead and try it.  Go ahead and qualify this measure for the ballot through the initiative process, which can be done and placed before voters in mid-late July — or perhaps go the route offered by Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters to put your proposed taxes forward to a statewide election on a majority vote using a,"constitutional section [which] allows the Legislature to place revisions to pre-existing statutory initiative measures on the ballot." Either way, those are your routes to putting this blackmail on the ballot.    I don’t think you are likely to find a single Republican legislator that is willing to participate in this outrageous plan of yours.  And taxpayers would, I believe, be very cynical to learn that "insider horsetrading" was responsible for a Republican patina on such a ploy.

When the voters have what would be a third opportunity in two years to address the issue of raising taxes to solve the state’s overspending crisis, it will be the public employee unions and Democrats verses taxpayers, working families and the Republican Party.  I’m comfortable with the outcome of that showdown.

6 Responses to “Jerry Brown Wants To Put A Gun To Voters’ Heads”

  1. Says:

    There is no better formula for Republicans. This is one heck of a blog! Show your appreciation readers…

  2. Says:

    Jon is correct. The idea of holding education hostage to gain voter sympathy is based on the false assumption that all other general fund spending is more important. Brown is using education to bait a voter vote to support welfare and health subsidies. BTW under Brown’s earlier terms health and welfare grew much faster than education.

  3. Says:

    It is going to be up to the voters again to reject any tax increases & force them to CUT 28 billion of the budget

    Then start repealing the dingbat Regulations that are handcuffing Ca Biz

  4. Arrowhead.Ken@Charter.Net Says:

    Holding out false dilemmas in order to black mail the folks into approving tax increases just will not work anymore. But then again the anti Prop 23 ad campaign was effective to shut down commonsense.

    Ending collective bargaining for public employees and privatizing universities will be enough alone to put Cailfornia back in the lack in short order.

    I like all of Jon’s proposals…wish he was governor today.

  5. Says:

    Well said.

  6. Says:

    I love your additional options, Jon. I would like to add a few:

    – Have we capped the salaries and benefits for the THOUSANDS of public employees who earn more than the Governor?
    – Have we limited the number of state employees who can retire at age 50? (Could they at least wait until they reach 55?)
    – Have we shut down the expensive state office buildings in San Francisco and Los Angeles and transferred the jobs to the cheaper parts of the state, such as Yuba City, Barstow, and Willits?
    – Have we placed ANY limits on the salaries of public officials, such as the Council members in the City of Bell?
    – Have we done anything to investigate the welfare recipients who do not even live in California?
    – Have we eliminated a single state agency?
    – Have we sought to evict the thousands of illegal aliens who live in subsidized public housing?
    – Have we done anything to make it easier for state and local governments to contract out for services?

    If the answer to all these questions is NO, then there is no apparent need to raise taxes. We would just be “throwing good money after bad.”