by Left Coast Rebel contributor Barrel Rider
Governor Jerry Brown -- A.K.A. Moonbeam -- has a plan to balance the California budget by cutting 12.5 billion in spending and increaseing revenue by 12.5 billion through a combination of new taxes and an extension on the tax rates currently set to expire in June.
Recent polling of Californians regarding Governor Brown’s proposal of new or renewed tax increases and both the current and future economic outlook has produced some interesting results.
For instance, 52 percent of those polled are in support of Brown’s tax proposals. To Brown's credit, he has made what I believe is an earnest effort to reduce spending.
Unfortunately the state of affairs in California have become so ridiculous that it may very well take a temporary extension of taxes while the state methodically and systemically reduces spending over the next few years and legislates the reductions to be long-term or permanent in nature.
Of course, I cannot and will not forget how our government has wasted and continues to waste our hard earned money with ludicrous spending year over year. In the past, throwing more money to Sacramento has almost always had negative results. As I look into the near to intermediate future it seems that the State of California is at a point of inflection in the social and economic path of the state. The wrong decisions in Sacramento will likely result in a gradual yet permanent decline in economic growth, competitiveness and standard of living.
Although I think he is trying to reduce spending, Brown has hardly communicated the particulars of his extension of taxes and how it relates to spending. Once again we get the old 'tax' plea from our Representatives and the spending seems to be the secondary priority, the two should be reversed.
At the risk of being vilified by my LCR brethren, I am open to the idea of extending the taxes that were recently increased (which I opposed at the time). I would only support this with conditions. The tax renewals would have to be put to ballot and passed by the voters, not legislated by the democratically controlled state senate. One of the unintended consequences of a Republican ballot block could be some sort of backdoor legislation by the Democrats to increase or extend tax rates with no vote. Any renewed tax would have to have a specific time period attached to it, which I think should include a tapering off. For example, if the taxes were extended for two years, they would drop 50 percent after year one and then to previous levels after year two. Anything over two years would not get my vote. Without a short-term time frame and annual decrease, the incentive for our government to cut would be hindered.
I would not support any ballot with new taxes added on to any extension (there, now I'm not completely insane, am I?). We are tapped out as employers, employees, consumers and property owners in the Pyrite State. We are already overtaxed and under-serviced by our elected officials.
Just as important, I think aggressive spending cuts need to be attached to any tax renewal, if you are keeping my taxes excessive, the state must also make increased cuts year over year. The Government should base its future budgets on current income, taking into account the two-year tax decline to previous levels.
I think it is important to get the officials to pass or to allow we voters the opportunity to pass forced spending cuts that are in writing and cover particular programs and line items throughout the budget. We need to make sure that there is a paper trail, a bill that forces spending cuts or we will be screwed once again by a state that has a track record of over-spending and increasing spending year over year. There should also be a complete freeze on any automatic annual spending increases in all areas of the budget, this has played a role in the overspending and systemic increase in spending that has dug the state in such a deep hole. Tax renewals will only be effective if they are done in tune with spending decreases. Spending cuts should be long-term and tax renewals short term.
I'm disappointed that Governor Brown is not more vocal and detailed in his plan. The state is in a crisis and the future may be permanently damaged without great leadership and actions. Without formal measures to include spending cuts I will not support any type of tax extension, but with the above and similar actions I think that a short term extension could help build a brighter long-term bridge for the state to move past its terrible mistakes of the past, but its a dicey proposition for certain.
A recent poll of San Diegans shows that a majority feel the economy is poor and the state is heading down the wrong track. About half of San Diegans feel the job opportunities are poor and nearly a third rate them as fair. Two-thirds of the San Diegans polled still rated California as a good place to live. I think they subconsciously mean San Diego.
What are your thoughts on how to get the California budget permanently under control in the near to intermediate future?