• Despite Gov. Gray Davis\’ insistence that he won\’t fill the state budget\’s $17.5 billion hole by raising taxes, dozens of proposed tax increases are moving through the Legislature, backed by Democrats.
  • The leader of the Senate (state Senate President Pro Tem John Burton, D-San Francisco) wants to add two new tax brackets to generate more than $3 billion in new revenue.
  • San Francisco Assemblywoman Carole Migden wants to suspend the rollback in license fees paid by California\’s 27 million vehicle owners, costing taxpayers more than $3 billion a year. Others want to change how property taxes are calculated on commercial property-a $4 billion hit on businesses, their lobbyists say.
  • One such proposal that advanced out of a legislative committee last week would place a 2-cent-a-can tax on soda and many juice drinks, costing taxpayers $350 million annually. The bills sponsor , Sen. Deborah Ortiz, D- Sacramento also has a proposal to add another 65 cents to the 87 cents in taxes already imposed on a pack of cigarettes.
  • Another bill would place a tax of 5 cents on each bullet-about $2.50 a box-and use the money to prop up the state\’s cash-poor trauma centers, which are often the places where victims of gunshots are treated.
  • The idea by Sen. Don Perata, D-Oakland, must not only pass the Legislature but also be approved by voters to take effect. "It\’s not unlike tobacco, where there is a correlation between smoking and public health costs," Perata said. While Republicans tend to oppose all tax increases, they are most vehement on proposals like Ortiz\’s, making passage of her measure unlikely. "These are nanny taxes. They place government in the position of being nanny to every grown-up in California," said Sen. Tom McClintock, R-Northridge.

Another approach that lawmakers are using to escape the onus of increasing taxes is masking them as fees, which only require a majority vote.

  • Two Senate bills would impose a fee on the sale of new computers to defray the disposal costs of old computers.
  • Another Senate bill, which has yet to have a hearing, would impose a fee on alcohol sales. The as-yet-unspecified fee would "mitigate adverse health effects resulting from those sales."

Another approach that lawmakers are using to escape the onus of increasing taxes is masking them as fees, which only require a majority vote.

  • An average 90 percent boost in the already steep penalties motorists pay if they file their registration late.
  • A fee of $4 per item on information about a driver\’s record requested by insurers. That will save the state $40 million.
  • A surcharge on civil filing fees equaling 10 percent of the fee. Filing fees in small claims courts currently range from $20 to $35. Civil cases have fees ranging from $83 to $203. A 20 percent surcharge is proposed for criminal fines.

    FACTS provided by Americans for Tax Reform (ATR):

Davis budget is $17.5 billion in deficit. Total CA budget $70 billion.

In 2000, the state had a $12 billion surplus.

To cover this loss Davis proposes:
a. $4 billion in cuts
b. $2 billion in bonds
c. borrow $2.5 billion from state pension fund (for which he promises to pay 8% interest)
d. Use $4 billion in tobacco settlement funds


Spending has increased 37% in three years

44,000 new state employees under Davis

After declaring a hiring freeze in October, Davis has granted 3,300 exemptions resulting in 6,200 new state employees. The state has hired more people this calendar year under a hiring freeze than it did during the same time period last year.

Republican candidate for Governor Bill Simon HAS signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, opposing "any and all efforts to raise taxes."

Because tax increases need two-thirds votes, Republican votes are needed (need 3 in the Assembly and 1 in the Senate).