There is and will be much to dissect about the disinformation campaign for Governor’s Brown’s measure on the
November ballot to massively increase the income and sales taxes of Californians. I guess we can start with the Governor use of the word TEMPORARY, which is defined by Merriam Webster as, “lasting for a limited time.”
Today the Governor sent out an email blast that, in its entirely, said:
Yesterday, the campaign to protect schools and public safety launched a new Yes on Prop 30 website and a video urging voters to take a stand.
The video features major law enforcement and education leaders from across the state who endorse Proposition 30.
After years of cuts, California’s public schools, universities and local public safety are at the breaking point. In the last four years alone, schools have been hit with $20 billion in cuts and a loss of more than 30,000 fewer educators. Today, California has among the largest class sizes in the country.
To protect schools and our neighborhoods, Prop. 30 temporarily increases personal income taxes on the highest earners – couples with incomes over $500,000 a year. For a couple earning $1 million a year, they will pay less than 0.5% more in taxes. Prop 30 also establishes a temporary sales tax for four years — 0.25%, a rate lower than it was last year. Prop. 30 also writes a constitutional guarantee for public safety that can’t be touched without voter approval. This provision will keep cops on the street and save California billions in future prison costs.
It’s time to take a stand to protect our schools and neighborhoods. Join me in getting our state back on track. Please forward this message to your friends and family and encourage them to watch the video and take a stand for California.
(The italicizing is my doing, the boldface was in the original e-mail.)
How long do you think a tax has to last before it is no longer appropriate to call it temporary? If a tax was enacted with a sunset date of 50 years from now, is that temporary? I have my own definition of a temporary tax — which would be a tax that does not last longer than the terms of office of the politicians who voted to enact the tax.
The Governor proposes increasing the state sales taxes for four years. Is that really temporary? Four years is a really long time. It clearly is a tax that would expire after the Governor and every member of the legislature have had a chance to stand for re-election. It’s pretty bad to call a tax increase that would last the length of President Obama’s second term, or President Romney’s first, temporary. Are they temporary Presidents?
Even more egregious is putting the description of temporary on an increase in state income taxes that will last seven years. Heck, in seven years this Governor will have stood for re-election, and if successful, would serve an entire second term and be out of office before the “temporary” increase in income taxes would end.
A close examination of the fourth paragraph of the Governor’s e-mail above tells you all you need to know about whether he thinks a reasonable person would call a seven year tax a temporary one. Note that the Governor mentions the four year duration of the sales taxes, calling that temporary. He then goes on to say that the income tax is also temporary, but conveniently leaves out its seven year duration. Almost implying that both taxes are for four years.
It’s going to be a long political season. Oh yes, there’s one other word that the Governor doesn’t like – TAX. If you check out his newest web ad for his campaign to increase taxes, that is word that is never mentioned…
I should probably add that as you can see, Brown is all about identifying his tax hike as Prop. 30. But let’s not forget that the 4th Court of Appeals has asked for written documentation from the Secretary of State by month’s end on the issue of ballot numbering before they consider whether to opine on the issue of whether any urgency bill before the legislation, if nominally funded through the budget (in this case, $1,000) can then avoid the 2/3rds vote requirement, and pass with a majority. I am no attorney, but trying to find the nexus between the budget and legislation to change around the order that items appear on the November ballot might require some sort of neutron microscope. Should the courts invalidate the legislation that re-ordered the ballot propositions, look for everyone to get new numbers.