Americans for Tax Reform Takes on Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley)
1-28-2009 7:20 am
Radical liberal former Berkeley Mayor now State Senator Loni Hancock (pictured left, of course) has taken the opportunity to tee-off on Americans for Tax Reform, the ATR No New Taxes Pledge, and blasts away at the requirement in the California constitution to have a super-majority vote to raise taxes. You can read her rant here. Below I am pleased to present an official response to Hancock's rant from Patrick Gleason with Americans for Tax Reform. I think he does a fine job of putting the socialistic "government can't be big enough" Hancock in her place....
It appears that Senator Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) deems it an appropriate use of scarce state resources to send falsehoods and pro-tax hike propaganda to all of her constituents, at taxpayer expense. This in the context of a state treasury that her colleagues proclaim is nearly empty, a budget that is forecast to dive over $40 billion into the red in the coming 18 months, and a private sector shedding jobs by the tens of thousands every week.
A RESPONSE FROM AMERICANS FOR TAX REFORM TO SENATOR LONI HANCOCK (D-BERKELEY)
Indeed, the Taxpayer Protection Pledge has proven to be a popular and successful tool in combating the never ending assault on taxpayers all over the country. I thank her for highlighting the efficacy of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. However, there were several gaping inaccuracies in Sen. Hancock's letter that I feel compelled to address.
1) Hancock writes:
"Every Republican Legislator, except one, has signed a pledge promising never, under any circumstances, to raise taxes for the things government provides... Their pledge is not to their constituents, but to Grover Norquist, the founder of the Washington, D.C. based conservative organization called Americans for Tax Reform."
This is patently false. The underlying tenet of the Pledge is that it is a promise to the constituents of the signer, not any single organization or person. That would be silly.
Want proof? Read the text of the pledge.
California Republicans are not rejecting tax increases because they signed the Pledge, they signed the Pledge because they are opposed to further raising taxes in a state has one of the highest tax burdens in the nation.
Hancock boasts that, "right-wing policies to deregulate, privatize, and cut taxes have been discredited at the national level and repudiated by the American people."
Have they? I recall a wildly successful campaign recently for a guy by the name of Obama in which the promise of tax cuts was a prominent feature. Odd.
Hancock argues the supermajority requirement to pass a budget is one of the key flaws in the state budget process and must be eliminated. Hancock writes (underlines are my emphasis):
"California requires a 2/3rds vote to pass a state budget. This is not how a democracy normally functions. California is one of only three states with this 2/3rds vote requirement."
Well that's one thing if Sen. Hancock wants to pass a budget by simple majority but such a change still wouldn't permit the Democrats favored tax hikes to sail through. Those would still require a 2/3rds vote under the supermajority requirement to raise taxes, the supermajority requirement to pass a budget being irrelevant.
Point of fact, as many as 16 states have such a supermajority requirement for raising taxes. A chart that outlines all of these states' requirements can be found here.
I understand that Sen. Hancock and her fellow Democrats in Sacramento have put union bosses, tenured bureaucrats, and other special interests above Golden State taxpayers. But out of respect for her office, her constituents, and to avoid such an utter waste of postage, Sen. Hancock should have done a little research before writing or at least provided some support for her bold claims other than what she heard on Rachel Maddow or read on Huffington Post.
Hancock's proposed solution entails nothing more than easing the threshold to raise taxes and fails to even consider needed structural reforms.
Along with a spending cap tied to population growth and inflation, it is long past time to put all state expenditures online and in a searchable format, just as over a dozen states have or are in the process of doing. Only when policy analysts, watchdog groups, and 36 million Californians can see exactly how the money is spent will we be able to have an honest and educated discussion about how to best prioritize spending and trim waste and redundancies from the budget.
Simply put, if higher taxes were the answer, California would be sitting pretty.
Patrick Gleason serves as State Affairs Manager at Americans for Tax Reform
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