Californians' Tax Burden Getting Heavier
Craig Huey / Daily Breeze
May 12, 2008
On April 30, Californians celebrated Tax Freedom Day. It’s the day the average Californian stops forking over hard-earned money to the federal, state and local governments and starts taking it home.
Last year, California was the seventh highest-taxed state in the nation, but this year we’ve gotten even worse at fourth highest.
In fact, you spend more days working for the government (121 days) than you do for food, clothing and housing combined (108 days). It’s no wonder entrepreneurs, businesses and overtaxed Californians are simply fed up and fleeing to nearby tax-friendly states like Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.
In 2008, Congress snuck 11,610 pet projects (or earmarks) into your federal budget – the second highest number ever and a whopping 337 percent increase over 2007.
Earmarks like $211,509 for fruit fly research – in France; $188,000 for the Lobster Institute of Maine; and $148,950 for the Montana Sheep Institute.
Spending is so out of control, the federal budget deficit is now $9.4 trillion. Worse, liberals want President Bush’s tax cuts to expire. This means the largest tax increase in history is coming – with the child tax credit to be cut in half, the 55 percent death tax and the mortgage tax penalty returning – all totaling an average tax increase of $3,000 per household.
Overspending in California is so out of control that Sacramento cannot even come close to overcoming the massive $14 billion deficit. This fiscal meltdown happened because spending shot up $25 billion in five years.
The California business tax climate is 47th worst in the nation. If the state government keeps chasing businesses away to other states, state revenue will drop even further. When you raise state taxes on businesses, state revenues drop, unemployment rises, state welfare rolls increase, and on down the line.
But Sacramento politicians are proposing $25billion in new taxes, fees and tax-credit elimination. By reducing child dependent tax credits and eliminating mortgage interest deductions and senior tax credits, they’re sneakily raising what you pay without raising your tax rate.
They also want new fees that increase the money you send to Sacramento every year. For example, proposed new motor vehicle fees include increases for registration, driver’s licenses, smog checks and identification plates.
And look out, the proposals include transportation taxes, Internet sales taxes, downloading taxes and split-roll property taxes.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The California Performance Review found $32 billion in potential budget savings by eliminating unnecessary boards and commissions, consolidating agencies and selling unneeded state properties.
City and county school board spending is also out of control.
Despite historic revenue, there is always a financial crisis. Money is earmarked for politicians’ pet projects and then a “crisis” magically occurs because there is none left over for essential services like police and fire departments. But pet projects are never cut.
Los Angeles faces a deficit of $400 million in the coming fiscal year, yet just four months ago, the City Council voted unanimously for a raise.
And unfortunately, most South Bay politicians would rather spend your money than let you spend it. Assembly members Betty Karnette, Ted Lieu, Curren Price and state Sen. Alan Lowenthal all received either a “D” or an “F” on the taxpayer report card from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.
And Rep. Jane Harman got an “F,” while Rep. Dana Rohrabacher was a top taxpayer defender with an “A” (86 percent approval rating).
And let’s not forget the hidden taxes you may not even know you are paying, like the utility users tax, license tax, Social Security, Medicare, Federal Communications Commission, sewer, cable, electricity, property, cell phone and trash.
These “hidden taxes” are all ways the government takes more and more of your paycheck every year.
Why does this happen? Tax proponents are usually well organized and funded, with large contributions coming from special-interest groups (contractors, businesses, unions). And tax supporters often downplay the increase in taxes, saying “it’s only a few cents a day.”
What can be done?
Vote against any elected politician who is not a taxpayer’s friend. If the spend-happy politicians continue to be re-elected, you can expect to work an extra few days next year to pay the growing tax burden.
Write your local, state and federal representatives and demand tax cuts that promote long-term economic growth instead of increasing the tax burden on hardworking Americans.
If voters would demand spending cuts and oppose tax increases from all levels of government, we could work fewer days for the government next year, allowing us to keep more of the money we earn.
Craig Huey is the president of ElectionForum.org, JudgeVoterGuide.com and Peninsula Residents for a Better Community. A resident of Rolling Hills Estates, he can be reached at craig@ElectionForum.org.
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