With California legislators returning to Sacramento today for procedural votes, Gov. Jerry Brown remains committed to getting his budget proposal through the legislature by March 10. With just a little over two weeks until the deadline, Gov. Brown is still looking for the four Republican votes – two in each chamber – he needs to refer an extension of the 2009 Schwarzenegger tax hikes to a special election ballot in June.
Last week Senator Bob Dutton, head of the GOP caucus in the state’s upper chamber, reaffirmed that his caucus remains solidly in opposition to Gov. Brown’s efforts to extend the largest state tax increase in U.S. history.
This latest exercise in squeezing more revenue out of a private economy that has been bled dry by high taxes and onerous regulation provides a teachable moment in that it reaffirms that fact that “temporary” tax hikes are a lot like unicorns – they’re talked about but do not seem to appear in nature. North Carolina taxpayers are currently coming to this same realization. After giving her word that the tax increases she signed into law in 2009 would expire as scheduled, NC Gov. Bev Perdue recently unveiled a budget that preserves a higher sales tax rate.
There is another reason that Jerry Brown wants Republicans to go along with his budget plan aside from the fact that he needs four GOP votes to get his tax hikes on the ballot. The fact is that Brown knows that his budget does nothing to address the states true problem – overspending, it does nothing to address the state’s unfunded pension liability pegged at half a trillion dollars, and will only leave the state’s economy worse off. Brown knows this and wants Republican fingerprints on it for that reason. Gov. Brown’s budget has the same problem as Obama’s – it fails to rein unsustainable spending in the short term, it ignores entitlements that will bankrupt the state long run, and includes massive tax hikes.
Gov. Brown will continue to make the rounds in an attempt to buy off Republican votes. Lawmakers in Sacramento need to hear from their constituents now. ATR urges California taxpayers to contact their representative in Sacramento today and urge them to reject Gov. Brown’s budget. To do so, simply click here.