Opinion: Governor all wrong to raise taxes

By Ted Gaines

Every May the governor releases an updated version of his January budget proposal. This year’s “May Revise” shows that Gov. Jerry Brown is dead set on growing government and raising taxes.

The new budget proposal has bits of good news. California’s economy is so massive that even our weak economic recovery is generating an unexpected $6.6 billion in additional tax revenue this year. Gov. Brown has wisely chosen to use some of the money to pay down debt. He is also proposing to eliminate some deadweight state boards and 5,500 government employee positions.

Ted Gaines

Ted Gaines

The good news ends there. Remarkably, when the state is buckling under massive deficits year after year, Gov. Brown’s detached-from-reality plan proposes increasing government spending 27 percent over the next three years.

To pay for his plan the governor wants to take an extra $58 billion in new taxes from families and businesses through a five-year extension of the historic 2009 “temporary” tax increase that is set to expire this month. He has embraced these higher taxes and will not let them go, even though the voters overwhelmingly rejected even a three-year extension just two years ago.

I do not support higher taxes on Californians. I want businesses to be able to keep their money and invest it, to expand and create jobs. I want families to keep more of their money to pay their bills, buy school clothes, take vacations and determine their own spending priorities.

The nation is struggling through the slowest economic recovery from any recession since World War II. California’s recovery is slower still, and our unemployment rate is around 12 percent. Only a wildly out-of-touch political class could think about forcing families to break out their wallets and pay another $1,000 a year to support an oversized state government.

Now is the time to be questioning why it costs California nearly $50,000 a year to house a prisoner. Why does California have around 12 percent of the nation’s population but a third of its welfare cases? Why did a survey of business leaders just rank California the worst state to do business – for the seventh year in a row?

California needs a government that provides basic public services at a price that taxpayers can afford. To suggest growing the public sector and raising taxes now, Brown’s May Revise shows he is ignoring any meaningful reform and is intent on implementing the same tax-and-spend agenda that created our permanent budget crisis.

Ted Gaines represents Lake Tahoe in the California Senate.

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Comments (3)
  1. dogwoman says - Posted: June 4, 2011

    There’s the key in that last paragraph. BASIC public services. California’s dependents want it all and want it now, the best of everything. We can not longer afford to give everyone the best of everything while our productive citizens are being forced to go without.

  2. Tahoehuskies says - Posted: June 5, 2011

    How is keeping the level of taxes the same as they currently are (post 2009) considered raising taxes? But I would really like to hear Gaines’ solution to the “welfare problem” in CA.So,far I haven’t heard anything from him, or the rest of his party.Of,course the other side isn’t providing realistic solutions to that problem either.Somethings got to give…

  3. Parker says - Posted: June 5, 2011

    It was supposed a two-year “temporary” sales tax and vehicle license fee increase. But just as always, temporary increases can become permanent as the Gov. now is trying to make it a FIVE-Year “temporary” tax increase!! If not allowed to expire, Tahoehuskies, it can very well be called a tax increase!!

    In fact, they’re trying to rush the tax extension through before they expire, so us citizens think it is the status quo and don’t vote it down at the polls.

    And if you believe all the union jargon trying to be fed down our throats about how the state government has made serious sacrifices and been cut to the bone, keep in mind this fact: Currently, in these tough economic times, 1 in 8 CA state employees make over $100k/year!! Not including benefits!! Remember the two previous sentences the next time you read or hear about all the “sacrifices” the state of CA has been making!