Friday, March 06, 2009

The California Crisis

The California government, faced with a budget deficit of unprecedented proportions, chose the only option that a politician thinks is available. The legislators voted to raise taxes instead of learning to live within their means.

Because all tax increases in California need a 2/3 majority to pass, this required that three Assembly Republicans and three Senate Repubilcans join with the Democrat majority and vote to raise taxes.

While it may be tempting to consider those six Republican legislators to be rogues who betrayed their party, that is not the case.

Radio Personalities John and Ken of KFI 640 AM have through their investigative journalism discovered that these six were not acting in opposition to their fellow legislators. Instead they were picked at caucus meetings to be the ones to take the fall because they were (most of them) on their final term and could not be re-elected anyway. Their fellow Republican legislators knew that they were going to vote to raise taxes long before they actually did, and supported them in it.

This arrangement was made so that those who did not vote to raise taxes could say to their constituents that they did not break their promise to not raise taxes. While it is true that they did not cast the votes themselves, they are guilty of "aiding and abetting" the raising of taxes.

If the person who drives a get-away car after a bank robbery is considered to be guilty in part of the robbery, these Republican legislators are guilty in part of raising taxes. They could have at any time stood up to their caucus and opposed the tax increases. They did not. They went along with the deal, and in some cases asked favors from those who were the selected fall guys to get pet projects into the budget.

Now the budget deal has been put on the ballot for the voters. There is no option to vote against this deal as a whole. Proposition 1A has two options - a "no" vote raises taxes, while a "yes" vote raises taxes for two more years but gives a phony budget cap.

Those who are aware that the budget cap is fake and that by voting for 1A tax increases are extended are against 1A. The problem is that not everyone knows that because the ballot arguments - for and against - both fail to mention that. They were selected in a corrupt deal so as to prevent the voter from knowing the facts of this deal.

Fortunately the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association is filing suit. While a referendum on the budget is not possible, it is reported they are working on a ballot proposition to overturn teh budget deal. The State of California is in a death-spiral. The best option is for the state to go bankrupt and have a judge cancel contracts so the state can balance its budget.

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