Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Life Left in CA State GOP

California Senate Republicans ousted their leader, Dave Cogdill, overnight. Cogdill had agreed to a budget with massive tax hikes.

Cogdill was replaced with Dave Hollingsworth, an anti-tax conservative.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air: "I’d call that a statement. It certainly sends a message to party leadership that the California GOP will not willingly follow along with more tax increases in a state that already has become one of the worst for tax burdens in the nation. California did not get into its financial crisis through low taxes, and higher taxes won’t provide anything more than a Band-Aid on a gaping wound... California needs a real austerity program, one that sheds government workers and government programs. The Golden State also needs to stop borrowing money, which comes from the massive spending...higher taxes only provide a junkie’s fix to addiction."

Keep in mind that the "cuts" proposed for the budget are merely political speak for not spending as much this year as they would have liked. There are no genuine deep cuts...and the politicians are planning to fill in many of the "cuts," such as they are, with federal "stimulus" money, while continuing to hang taxpayers out to dry for a budget which has increased over 40% in just half a decade. Needless to say, taxpayers' incomes and budgets haven't kept up that sort of pace.

Promises of putting a plan for a budget "spending cap" on the ballot in exchange for tax increases now are simply a mirage. There's a booby trap built into the ballot proposal: if the spending cap plan passes, we're stuck with the new tax increases for another half-decade. If it doesn't pass, the tax increases only last two years. (I don't believe they'd ever go away, in any event. When was the last time a "temporary" California sales tax was repealed?)

We'll know Democrats are serious about the budget when they start eliminating programs that are geared toward their key constituencies, such as offering "in state" college tuition rates to illegal aliens, while citizens from other states don't receive that financial break and must pay full price.

Unfortunately there is concern that a couple of "moderate" GOP Senators who have thus far held out against the budget might be alienated by Cogdill's ouster and vote for the budget after all. Hopefully they will realize, in the words of Tony Strickland, "We need to stop treating the taxpayers across California like a personal ATM."

Update: Via Patterico, here's a calculator from the Sacramento Bee so taxpayers can estimate the financial impact of the proposed tax increases.

Thursday Update: Things did not end well for California taxpayers, thanks to a GOP "moderate" who was given a wish list of loony items including putting "open primaries" -- which voters have previously rejected -- on the ballot.


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