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Senator Tony Strickland

Pass a Spending Cap to Maximize Taxpayer Dollars

Albert Einstein defines “insanity” as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, it’s the same old thing with California government – spending beyond our means and raising taxes – and it’s not working.

California’s taxes are some of the highest in the nation. We have the highest sales taxes. We have the highest gas taxes. Our personal income taxes are the third-highest in the nation. What’s worse, the Governor now wants to increase your taxes by more than $50 billion.

The problem is we already extended these tax increases two years ago. I said then raising taxes would not work to fix our economy and it hasn’t – things are worse now than they were then. The fact is, we’re not in this budget mess because we’re taxed too little; it’s because we’re taxed too much.

Every year, California government continues to overspend and then reaches into the pockets of hardworking taxpayers when it runs out of cash. To get us out of this budget crisis, we need to come up with meaningful reforms and ensure we do not raise taxes on over-burdened Californians.

This is why I’ve authored Senate Constitutional Amendment 10. SCA 10 amends the California Constitution to create a spending cap.

Almost 20 years ago, voters approved the Gann Spending limit, which set a cap on spending. Unfortunately, while the Gann limit remains on the books today, there have been so many exemptions created, it’s been rendered basically worthless.

SCA 10 will create a spending cap in place of the existing Gann Spending limit to help California government maximize the precious tax dollars that do come to Sacramento. It will only grow the government by population plus inflation. Whatever is left over will be put into a rainy day fund. Any excess funds from the rainy day fund will be allocated equally to schools and back to the taxpayers.

If this type of spending cap was implemented ten years ago, we’d have a surplus today, not a deficit. Even with the current proposed budget cuts, we are getting back in the same boat again – the Governor’s budget proposes spending increases of 31% by 2015.

In this tough economy, families across the state are sitting down at their kitchen tables and making tough budget choices. They’re not spending more than they take in – shouldn’t California government have to do the same?

With a $26.6 billion budget deficit and some the highest taxes in the country, we need to spend within our means. Hardworking Californians are living paycheck to paycheck and deserve to have their tax dollars used as efficiently as possible.