Much has been written on this website about the horrific state budget deal of 2009, a deal that saw California taxpayers slammed with the largest single tax increase in state history – with increases in sales, income and car taxes, and a reduction in the child tax credit. For two years, roughly $14 billion each year was transferred from the private sector into the sink-hole that is state government. It’s worthy of note that mere months after that budget deal, California voters were asked whether to extend those tax increases for two more years, and rejected them by nearly a two-thirds vote.
What if Republicans had held the line that year? How much better off would state government be today had tough decisions about cuts in state spending been made three years ago? But that’s not what happened. Five of the six Republican legislators who voted to hike those taxes were elected to office after pledging that they would never do that – that they would not raise taxes.
This year three of those five pledge-breakers decided to run for public office. One of them, former Assemblyman Anthony Adams, ran for Congress and failed to make the runoff. Another one of them, former State Senator Abel Maldonado (who was Lt. Governor for a blink of an eye as a thank you from Arnold Schwarzenegger) is running for Congress. He may or may not win today. The third pledge-breaker, on the ballot today, is former State Senator Roy Ashburn. He not only violated his tax pledge, but then took a sweetheart high-paying appointment to a state commission as a “thank you” for screwing the taxpayers.
Roy Ashburn is running for a seat on the Kern County Board of Supervisors – an office he held before his first election to the State Legislature. He is in a tight run-off with fellow Republican Mick Gleason. Gleason is supported by the partisan office-holders representing Kern County — Congressman Kevin McCarthy, State Senator Jean Fuller and Assemblywoman Shannon Grove. Ashburn’s support comes from Democrats, public employee unions, and former Congressman Bill Thomas.
We won’t know until tonight what decision they make, but I am very proud to have been part of an effort to make sure that voters in Kern County’s First Supervisorial District understand the true lack-of-character of the man who seeks to represent them in an office of public trust. There are a couple of mail pieces that have dropped to voters there, and you can see them below.
It is worthy of note that to this day Ashburn has never voiced regret or remorse for what he did. Which is the clearest sign that as a Kern County Supervisor, you can be sure that he will put taxpayers at risk again. Hopefully he will never get the chance.
Of course this is bigger than a Kern County Supervisor race, this is really about resolve. Much has been made about Republicans trying to stop Democrats in Sacramento from attaining super-majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly. The question is this — is the Republican ability to stop taxes important because of a resolve to stop tax hikes? Or in order to secure the ability to barter away tax increases for someone’s idea of a “good deal” (for everyone but the taxpayers)?