In a scene right out of the Keystone Cops, it is quite entertaining to see California Democrats so exuberant to raise taxes that there are at least four different major tax increase proposals that appear to he headed for the crowded November ballot.
- Governor Brown of course is proceeding forward with a proposal for billions of dollars in increases in state income and sales taxes.
- Independently wealthy Molly Munger is personally funding the signature gathering effort for a massive $10 billion hike in state income taxes.
- A couple of the state’s most influential unions are pushing what’s is dubbed the millionaire’s tax — another multi-billion dollar hike in state income taxes.
- Wealthy investor Tom Steyer is funding a ballot measure to change the way some business taxes are computed, a de facto multi-billion dollar tax increase.
It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that while the Democrats and their union bosses are busy dividing their resources and squabbling amongst themselves, there is an opportunity for those who want fiscal sanity to come forth in state government. To use a little bit of football parlance, for a long time now those that think we have an over-spending problem in state government have largely been fielding the defensive team, just trying to stop egregious spending. Because of the particular political dynamics of 2012, there is actually have an opportunity to go on the offensive.
While the rent-seekers and liberal ideologues are tripping over themselves to see how many competing tax increase proposals they can put on the ballot, we can and should move forward with the Government Spending Limit Act of 2012. This initiative, sponsored jointly by Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, Joel Fox of the Small Business Action Committee, and Teresa Casazza of the California Taxpayers Association, if qualified, stands an amazingly good chance of being approved by California voters, and its impact on the State Capitol would be tremendous. It would erect a spending cap that would hold up even against a determined Democrat-controlled legislature and Democrat Governor.
When you consider how close the Democrats are to taking two-thirds in each of the legislative chambers, and the fact that with the two-thirds they could pass every tax increase they have ever desired, without a vote of the people, the Spending Cap Initiative starts to sound like an extremely good idea. You see, once the spending cap has been hit, no matter how many more tax increases are passed, the revenues from them could only be used to pay off debt, or get returned back to taxpayers. While Democrats really want to pass more income taxes, sales taxes, excise taxes, property taxes, sin taxes, oil severance taxes, and every other tax you can think of, their incentive to do so is drastically reduced when there is a cap in place preventing the spending of revenues from these taxes on new programs.
It’s no wonder that Governor Jerry Brown and the public employee union bosses are pulling out all of the stops to try and keep the Government Spending Limit Act of 2012 from ever reaching the November ballot. There is no doubt that the Governor and these very wealthy special interests can exert a lot of pressure and use intimidation to try and discourage some who would otherwise stand up to the profligate spenders.
The question is whether or not those people that have the financial resources to chip in towards qualifying the spending cap measure believe in a bright future for California or not. If something isn’t done, it is not really hard to envision an out-of-control state government, taxing and spending with reckless abandon. The stakes are high.