Patrick Gleason

California is Officially Closed for Business

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Thursday, February 19th, 2009, 8:11 PM PERMALINK

Californians have Taxpayer Protection Pledge breaker Sen. Abel Maldonado and four other Pledge violating lawmakers to thank for a $14 billion tax hike that passed the California Senate earlier today. For Sen. Maldonado’s betrayal, he received three constitutional amendments to be placed on the statewide ballot. One of these amendments was the creation of an open primary system, which he believes will allow him to better prevent electoral retribution if he decides to run for statewide office.
To read ATR’s statement on this taxpayer betrayal, click “read more.”
California Legislature Passes $14 Billion Tax Hike
6 Legislators Violate Pledge to Constituents
WASHINGTON D.C– Early today the California Senate passed a budget agreement that will raise taxes by $14 billion. Sen. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) provided the deciding vote. The California Assembly approved the deal shortly thereafter.
In approving this massive tax increase Sen. Maldonado has violated a written promise he made to Californians that he would “oppose any and all efforts to raise taxes.” Other Golden State lawmakers who broke this same commitment today include Sen. Dave Cogdill (R-Modesto), Sen. Roy Ashburn (R-Bakersfield), Assemblyman Mike Villines (R-Clovis) and Assemblyman Anthony Adams (R-Hesperia).
“It is a truly sad day for California taxpayers,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. “It is never good when a politician breaks a promise to constituents, but it is unconscionable when a broken promise results in a $14 billion tax hike in the middle of a recession .”
Californians face the 6th highest tax burden in the country and already pay the highest gas, sales, and income taxes in the nation. The budget deal passed in Sacramento today raises all of those rates. In exchange for Sen. Maldonado’s vote, three constitutional amendments will be put on the statewide ballot. One of those amendments would create an open primary system.
“People and employers have been fleeing the state in droves as a result of California’s punitive tax code, taking jobs and income with them. Today’s vote will only exacerbate this deleterious trend,” saidNorquist. “Californians worked 204 days last year, well over half of the year, just to pay for the cost of their government. As a result of this budget it will take much longer to pay this cost in future years. The vote that happened in Sacramento today made it very clear that California is closed for business.”

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Golden State Budget Deal Remains Elusive

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009, 5:06 PM PERMALINK

Budget negotiations continue in Sacramento.  Last week word got out that a budget vote was likely to come sometime this week.

But after a weekend of Big 5 negotiations, a vote has yet to be announced.  Stay tuned for more budget updates throughout the week.

Staying on the subject of California's budget, Democrat lawmakers have repeatedly spread misinformation on the state's overspending problem and the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, which ATR sponsors and all but one Republican lawmaker in California have signed.  Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) recently went so far as to send a letter to all of her constituents repeating these falsehoods and pro-tax hike propaganda.

The Flash Report, the foremost source for California political news, recently published ATR's official response - click here to read it.

ATR's Patrick Gleason recently appeared on Los Angeles area station KFI 640 AM's John and Ken Show to discuss the budget impasse.  Click here to listen to the interview - Gleason comes on at the 8 minute mark.

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California Big 5 Reach Budget Deal......or Did They?

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Wednesday, February 11th, 2009, 1:00 PM PERMALINK


News outlets reported earlier today that Legislative leaders and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger have reached a tentative deal to close the state's projected $40 billion overspending problem.

Negotiations clouded in secrecy, apparently because many Californians and interest groups would oppose what was being agreed to if they found out about it. Previously, Gov. Schwarzenegger said he would proceed to lay off 20,000 state workers if no state budget deal is reached by Friday.

To make matters more convoluted, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office said there's no budget deal yet.

Let us hope that any agreement tackles the real issue - chronic overspending. In the last 10 years California's spending has gone up by a whopping 92%. Golden State lawmakers have paid for this spending spree by pushing financial decisions down the road, using accounting gimmicks to hide deficits, and relying on borrowing and bonds to pay the bills. California can not blame its huge deficit on the recession, tax revenues, the stock market or any other excuse. Rather, it has only itself to blame.

Let us hope that any agreement will for once address the real structural problems plaguing the state.
A vote is scheduled for Friday. Stay tuned for breaking news on the California budget deal...


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Texas Lawmakers Work to Avoid Fate of D.C. and Sacramento

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Friday, February 6th, 2009, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

What better day than Reagan's birthday for a conservative group of legislators to release their priorities for 2009.  
Michael Quinn Sullivan, president of Texans for Fiscal Responsibility, reports out of Austin that the Texas Conservative Coalition today "announced their fiscal priorities for the current session ‘to help keep our economy strong and growing’ by noting that the economic climate has been caused by ‘poor decision-making in Washington D.C. and lack of responsibility on Wall Street.’ High on their list: real reductions in property taxes.” 
Another top goal this year for the Texas Conservative Coalition, led by Rep. Wayne Christian (R-Nacogdoches), will be the implementation of a tax and expenditure limit that will ensure the state lives within its means and avoids the ill fate of their profligate counterparts in other states like California and New York.
ATR supports legislation by coalition member Rep. Ken Paxton (R-McKinney), House Bill 994, that would limit increases in state spending to population growth and inflation.  The text of 994 can be found here.
The TX Conservative Coalition outlined their priorities in a letter sent to Gov. Perry and other key state officials. To read the letter click  here and for Sullivan's full commentary click here. To learn more about the TX Conservative Coalition click here.

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The $2 Billion Shortfall That Wasn't

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Tuesday, January 20th, 2009, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Nevada Governor Jim Gibbons, Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer and as of last month, Pledge breaker, recently released his budget proposal which included a 3 percent room tax increase. Tax and Spenders in the Silver State claim the tax hike is needed to address what they say is a $2.3 billion shortfall (aka overspending) for the next biennium.

Luckily the good folks at the Nevada Policy Research Institute have revealed the real fiscal situation, employing an old but useful tool know as “facts.”

NPRI policy analyst Patrick Gibbons thoroughly debunks the myth of the $2.3 billion shortfall here. As it turns out the false deficit is derived from a baseline that assumes an automatic 20 percent budget increase, representing a government operating in stark contrast to the employers and families that have been cutting back in the midst of the economic downturn. As it turns out, the Governor’s budget includes only $900 million in cuts, or a meager 0.9 percent reduction. Indeed, many Nevada workers and businesses would gladly welcome less than a 1 percent cutback in these tough times. Click here to read the full analysis.

Not only has NPRI exposed the fallacy of the $2.3 billion budget shortfall, they have proposed a bold and innovative package of policy recommendations and reforms that would increase government efficiency, reduce waste and redundancy, and implement the structural reforms needed to protect Nevada taxpayers. Click here for NPRI’s proposal in its entirety.

To view ATR's official statement on Gov. Gibbons’ violation of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, click here.

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Huffman: Only Candidate in TX S-17 Runoff to Rule out Tax Hikes

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Thursday, December 11th, 2008, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Joan Huffman, a Republican running for a seat in the TX Senate’s 17th district, has signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge sponsored by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). In signing the Pledge, Huffman has promised to “oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”  Chris Bell, Huffman’s opponent, has refused to make the same commitment to residents of the Texas Senate’s 17th district.


Click here to view ATR's press release on the matter.

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IL Law Tied to Gov. Blagojevich's Culture of Corruption

Posted by Patrick Gleason on Tuesday, December 9th, 2008, 12:00 PM PERMALINK

Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's arrest yesterday have brought Blago's pay-to-play dealings to light.  According to criminal documents, one piece of legislation that exemplified such dealings was HB 4758, which resulted in a 3 percent tax increase on instate gaming boat operations.

Click here to read ATR's press release on the matter.