Monday, March 26, 2012

California Voters Back November Ballot Measure to Raise Taxes on 'Wealthy'

Well, actually, the poll finds two-thirds support for raising taxes on "high earners," but for the progressives and unions who browbeat Governor Brown, it's actually a classic soak-the-rich scheme.

See the Los Angeles Times, "Strong majority backs Jerry Brown's tax-hike initiative":
California voters strongly support Gov. Jerry Brown's new proposal to increase the sales tax and raise levies on upper incomes to help raise money for schools and balance the state's budget, according to a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll.

Sixty-four percent of those surveyed said they supported the governor's measure, which he hopes to place on the November ballot. It would hike the state sales tax by a quarter-cent per dollar for the next four years and create a graduated surcharge on incomes of more than $250,000 that would last seven years. A third of respondents opposed the measure.

Brown's new plan, rewritten recently amid pressure from liberal activist and union groups that had a competing proposal, relies on a larger share of revenue from upper-income earners than his original measure. Correspondingly, it leans less upon sales taxes, which are paid by all California consumers. The poll shows that taxing high earners is overwhelmingly popular.

"These poll results illustrate that Brown was very smart to put together this initiative the way he did," said Dan Schnur, director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC.

Shirley Karns, 74, an independent voter from the Northern California town of Lakeport who backs the governor's new plan, said the wealthy should pay more.

"Those who have an unbelievable amount more than those who do not should contribute more," she said. "And on the sales tax, the more you buy, the more you pay. It's pretty tough on low-income people who have to pay an extra nickel here and there, but we've got to get the money from somewhere."

Brown reached a deal with a coalition led by the California Federation of Teachers to tweak his tax measure. In exchange, the group dropped its rival proposal — also aimed at the November ballot — which would have increased levies exclusively on incomes of more than $1 million.
See what I mean? The Governor's earlier proposal would have taxed folks making more than $1 million a year, which is more in the "wealthy" neighborhood than $250 thousand annually. My wife and I cleared $150 thousand on our taxes for 2011, and I'll tell you, money's been tight. But the left's constant class warfare agenda has successfully defined down who's "wealthy," according to a Gallup poll out late last year: "Americans Set "Rich" Threshold at $150,000 in Annual Income."

Meanwhile, public employees continue to live like Bourbon royalty. See CBS Sacramento, "California Public Employees Highest Paid of Any State."

I'll have more later. Recall that executives at the California State University continue to pull down huge salaries and bonuses, while classes are being cut at CSU, and elsewhere layoffs are being threatened around the state. See: "Cal State University Executive Pay Scandal."

I'll be more sympathetic to tax hikes when I see public officials using public funds with greater care and judiciousness.