Wednesday, August 04, 2010

A Taxing Question

The Democrats in the California legislature have labored, and brought forth, not a mouse, but a proposed budget, which they claim will solve the state's deficit problem.  The main talking points seem to be that they will do the following for a representative California making $60K a year:
  • increase the personal income tax by one percentage point (additional $473 per year)
  • increase the vehicle license fee to 1.65 percent (it's now 1.15 percent and is scheduled to drop to .65 percent next year - cost to the taxpayer, $118)
  • cut the state sales tax from 6% to 3.5% (savings to the taxpayer, $677)
The Republicans, including the Governator, are posturing madly about this attempt to Raise Taxes.  Ahnold says he will "never sign a budget that includes a tax increase."

Now, we all know that they made these numbers up.  Your Mileage May Vary, as the car ads say, depending on the age of your car and the amount of stuff you buy for which you pay sales tax, besides which, you probably don't make $60,000 a year.  But just consider this arithmetic as projected.

$473 plus $118 is $591 more per year from the beleaguered taxpayer. 

But the projected savings from the sales tax cut is $677. 

On my calculator that's a net savings to the taxpayer of 86 bucks a year.

First of all, how does this constitute a tax increase??  Second, how do the Dems propose to eliminate the deficit if their tax changes will bring in less money than the current arrangement??  And third, can't any of these people add??  (Well, no, of course not - they're mostly in the 30-50 age range, which means they were educated under California's "new math," under which the ability to add numbers together to produce an answer was not taught.  But that's another rant.)


  1. hedera:

    Did you schnarf your linking website? It comes up as a deleted "404" when I summoned it yesterday and today.

    I'm not sure I want to be taxed any more by the State of California. They already take more, I believe, than we pay the Feds.

    I certainly don't want to pay any more in property taxes than we do.

    Communities that keep growing but whose revenue is declining on a per capita basis must face the fact that they can't continue to spend beyond their means. This is, or should be, a natural curb to uncontrolled growth.

    The trouble is that, no matter how degraded our existence may eventually become, it will still look like heaven to people in the Third World. Meanwhile, WASPS are still leaving California for ELSEWHERE, to be replaced, 10 to 1, by immigrants from Mexico and Asia.

  2. Curtis,
    Which linking web site? If you mean, I have been working on it - I'm rebuilding it on WordPress. However, it was there a moment ago. If not that, which web site did you mean?

    I still feel that if we want a certain level of service from our local and state government, we have to be prepared to pay a level of tax that will support that. Unfortunately, we have a continual exchange of shouting points (they aren't really talking) in which the Democrats scream, "We must raise taxes!" and the Republicans scream, "We will never raise taxes!" as both of them face the camera and not each other.

    No one is willing to lead a discussion on what we want from government. Some people will want more, some less, but I would hope that there would be certain basic functions - roads, say, and public safety - that we all agree are desirable, and then we could discuss how much they cost and where the money will come from. I see no evidence that discussion is happening. I also wonder, if Meg Whitman should be elected with her promise to lay off what, 40,000 state workers, how many of them will be firefighters, and if they are, who will fight the wildfires we have every single year. You notice they've already started.

    We do, of course, live in unimaginable luxury - even the poorest of us - compared to the people in India and Bangladesh who live on less than $2 a day. That doesn't excuse us from what should be the ongoing discussion about what we expect our government to do and to be.

  3. One man's necessity is the other man's luxury.

    I don't feel comfortable being asked to up my ante to educate the children of illegals who don't speak English, and don't pay taxes themselves. This isn't selfishness, but self-interested common sense. We've gotten into the habit of thinking of what "government affords" somehow is disconnected from what is collected in taxes. The State's educational performance (1-12) has steadily declined, for a number of reasons, but most prominently because our ghetto-ized communities can't provide a civilized setting for learning.

    Hedera, you and I grew up in a quiet bedroom community which was completely segregated along racial and/or ethnic lines. Our parents clearly understood the advantages of this context and planned accordingly. Today, parents trying to engineer good educations for their kids are forced to bus them to inner city or "wrong-side-of-the-tracks" schools where discipline is slack and infrastructure is crumbling. And then they're told they need to "pay more" to "save" our schools from disaster.

    Why should WASP kids from decent neighborhoods have their educational opportunities compromised by Latino and Black kids who can't compete? It all sounds fine when you talk about raising everyone's standard by leveling the playing-field, but the reality is that we end up lowering it, and then throwing more and more money at the problem, in vain.

    California can't afford to keep importing poor, uneducated ethnic minorities, while it busily exports jobs and talent. We're seeing the result of that right now.