For many years, leaders in the State of California, both Republican and Democrat, have been adept at placing “reasonable” measures on the ballot which are aimed at extracting more revenue from you and me using key words such as “for the children”, “for all Californians”, “water”, “environment “, ”education”, etc. In truth the amount of money collected by the State and by Cities is more than enough to have the best schools, the best roads, the best Healthcare, and the best water system in the United States if not the world. The problem is that politicians never make the needed choices between legitimate government programs and boondoggles.
If the people were given a choice, for example, between good schools for California children and High Speed Rail, they would make the choice in favor of schools by 99 to 1 in a heartbeat. (Assemblyman Scott Wilk, to his eternal credit, actually attempted to get such a measure on the ballot, but that effort was squelched by Gov. Brown and his minions). But those choices are never put forward. It is always a choice for more bond issues, more taxes, and more government.
Part of the problem is the initiative process itself. Our politicians learned long ago that they could spend as much money as they wished on favorite activities such as exorbitant salaries for friends and family members in useless state commissions or unreasonably and unsustainably increasing state government worker salaries, benefits, and pensions as well as the size of the workforce to placate unions. The politicians felt that when the money ran out, they could always get the people to vote more taxes on themselves to support legitimate but neglected government functions using their “key word” strategy.
In this election cycle, they are at it again. California voters are asked to decide, for example, on a bond issue (Prop 51) to improve and repair K – 12 schools in the state. The cause may be worthy but the fact is that there is enough money in Sacramento, already, to accomplish this task with proper allocation.
At some point, the taxpayers need to stand up and say “Read my lips! No More Money!” Prop 51 and all other tax increases on the ballot, both state and local, are a good place to start.
Photo credit TaxSource