The Campaign Spot

Perfect: $8.5 Billion Tax Hike on the Ballot in California in November

The chances of California being in play in the presidential election are close to nil – but if I wanted to ensure GOP turnout was as high as possible in all of the down-ticket races, I would want something like a referendum on a giant, giant tax hike.

Thank you, Governor Jerry Brown:

Gov. Jerry Brown is pleading with Californians to raise their taxes as part of his solution for solving the state’s budget deficit, but it’s uncertain whether voters will be in an accepting mood come November.

Polls show voters want more money for schools but don’t want to tax themselves to pay for it. They continue to be pessimistic about the economy in a state with one of the highest jobless rates in the nation. And they distrust the Legislature, which oversees the budget.

Brown is facing a tough environment after announcing over the weekend that the state’s deficit had risen to $15.7 billion, much larger than he said a few months ago, said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College in Pomona.

“When the governor says devastating things are going to happen, people will say, ‘Look, you said the shortfall was going to be a lot smaller than it was. You were wrong then; why should we believe you now?’” Pitney said. “The governor is facing a trust deficit as well as a fiscal deficit.”

…Brown said the size of the tax is fair given that California’s economy is nearly $2 trillion and the measure would mostly impact the wealthy. When he released his $91 billion revised spending plan Monday, he did so with a plea, asking voters to “please increase taxes temporarily.”

Under Brown’s tax plan, California would temporarily raise the state’s sales tax by a quarter-cent to 7.5 percent for four years and increase the income tax for seven years on individuals who make more than $250,000 and joint filers who make more than $500,000.

The article notes the last seven tax increase proposals have been turned down, including a “temporary” sales and vehicle tax extension in May 2009 by a margin of nearly two-thirds, and that a recent poll indicated that 65 percent of likely California voters support taxing the rich, but a 52 percent oppose raising the state sales and 57 percent oppose raising personal income taxes.

As Margaret Thatcher said, the problem with Socialism… as well as California’s model… (perhaps I repeat myself) is that at some point, you run out of other people’s money.


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