California state revenues were nearly $121 billion in fiscal year 2007, according to the Legislative Analyst’s office. This fiscal year, state revenues will be nearly $133 billion.
What has the state done with that $12 billion in new revenues? And, why do we need either big tax increase which would be authorized by Proposition 30 or Proposition 38?
In short, we don’t need either of these ill-conceived tax increases.
The $12 billion in additional money we taxpayers gave the state over the last five years, like all government money, went primarily to state employees pay, pension and benefits — and union dues. We have nearly 300,000 state employees. Both of these propositions are designed to take even more of taxpayers’ money — and that includes from your business — to give to government employees.
You should vote against these two propositions, and, just as important this year, as business leaders you should exercise your First Amendment rights and encourage your friends and employees to vote against these greedy measures.
State government is sick, and its cure will not be found in giving the current leadership more money. We’ve tried that, and it hasn’t worked. This current group of state government leaders, elected thanks to state employee unions, will spend every penny we give them and then pretend in a couple of years they need more. Do you remember a year when a government leader at any level has said his or her organization had sufficient money?
First, state and federal government should stop misrepresenting how they spend our money. There has never been a legitimate “cut” in state spending in California. The claim is a ruse, designed to fool taxpayers. Governments “project spending” adding lots of increases over the current year’s budget, and whine, and cry when there is any alteration to their spending desires. Most voters think a cut means a reduction to last year’s spending. Not in government-speak. Voters need to see this for what it is: just another bureaucratic whining of wolf.
Most business leaders do not get out and campaign, or donate to campaigns. Most are small business folks just trying to make payroll and pay the bills. Many business leaders consider government a necessary evil that must be endured and no more. This year, the Business Journal suggests a change. Business leaders should express themselves on Proposition 30, 32 and 38. Business leaders should share with family and employees why they should vote against Proposition 30 and 38 and vote FOR Proposition 32.
Second, the larger state government (federal government, too) gets, the fewer jobs that will be created by the private sector. As much as Gov. Brown would like to deny it, higher taxes on business and the wealthy result in fewer jobs.
Proposition 30 has been dishonestly presented to the public, too, unfortunately. It will raise taxes on all Californians, not just the “wealthy.” It will also not guarantee any money for schools.
The misrepresentation is so bad, there is rival, greedy government measure Proposition 38, that actually guarantees its huge tax haul goes into the pockets and retirement accounts of teachers. Both measures mean about $50 billion in new taxes over the next seven years.
Supporters of a bigger government like to accuse their opponents of wanting to punish state employees or hating teachers. That’s a crock. Demanding state employees be treated like nongovernment employees and that Gov. Brown and the Legislature be accountable with our money isn’t “hating” or “hurting” anyone. It’s healthy, and it demonstrates that we value government services enough to demand they are delivered in the most efficient fashion possible. Voting against Proposition 30 and 38 will force, we hope, a start of that process.