A government’s budget is a reflection of the community’s priorities. But the state budget recently passed by the Legislature does not reflect the priorities of the hardworking Californians who grow our food, teach our children, protect our streets or build the businesses that provide the jobs and tools we use to live our lives. Instead, it reflects the priorities of out-of-touch politicians anxious to spend our hard earned income on pet projects.
April 30 is California's Tax Freedom Day, the day when taxpayers can stop working for the government and start working for themselves. This year Californians have worked nine more days than the national average, and six more days than we did last year to pay off our federal, state and local tax burden.
The disastrous rollout of Obamacare has given its opponents – who the latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows to be a majority of the country – enough fodder to last for years. So far, California's Obamacare exchange, Covered California, has received rave reviews from the Obama administration and their liberal allies across the country. But while Covered California's website has been able to avoid many of the high-profile failures of healthcare.gov, its main effect has been the same as the federal exchange: to increase the ranks of uninsured.
In the summer of 1981, at his beloved ranch in the Santa Ynez Mountains above Santa Barbara, President Ronald Reagan signed legislation that cut income taxes, capital-gains taxes and business taxes, unleashing nearly two decades of unparalleled economic growth and opportunity. We would do well today to learn from that victory. Reagan, who would have been 103 years old on Feb. 6, was able to achieve the goals of his “revolution” because he had knowledge that seems to be sorely lacking in the halls of power today – both in Sacramento and in Washington, D.C.
The sheer volume of legislation flowing through the state Capitol at any given time can be overwhelming — Gov. Jerry Brown signed 800 bills into law this year alone. But if there's one issue Californians should know about if they own or plan on owning a home or business, it is the threat to Proposition 13. Proposition 13, which the people of California passed with overwhelming support in 1978, today protects all property owners in the state. This landmark constitutional amendment limits property tax to 1% of the assessed value of a property at the time of purchase and caps increases at 2% annually.
Contrary to the newly popular notion that California is on the rebound, the state's business-tax climate continues to be one of the worst in the nation. California's tax policies are making us less competitive with other states and hurting our economy. Other states have made significant reforms to improve their tax climates. We must do the same and reduce the tax burden on Californians.
Most people have the good sense not to take out a loan that will cost them 20 times more than what they initially borrowed. But that is not true for some local governments. That is why I supported the passage of Assembly Bill 182, which places limits on risky borrowing by local governments. Now it's up to Gov. Jerry Brown to sign it.
“Imagine one day you open your mail only to discover a letter notifying you of a new loan taken out in your name without your knowledge. The letter informs you that you will have no say in how the loan money is spent, though it might benefit you in some way.”
“Confusion about local tax rates is causing some Californians to be overcharged sales tax when they make purchases. And it doesn't help that the Board of Equalization's publications for finding tax rates are almost as complicated as the tax rates themselves. I am working with agency staff and my board colleagues to correct this problem.”
“We are free and independent today because generations of Americans from the Founders forward have fought to protect our liberty. New generations of Americans continue to fight for the same cause in our Armed Forces. They risk their lives to preserve our freedom.”
“The best way to promote affordable housing is to reduce regulations on homebuilders, spurring competition and driving down prices for everyone through free enterprise. Unfortunately, the tax hike in Senate Bill 391 would do the opposite.”
As Sacramento's new supermajority gears up to tear down California's "third rail of politics," it is vital to explain what makes Proposition 13 so important, and why plans to destroy it could hurt Californians for years to come.
Sold as a painless proposal to close a "corporate tax loophole" and "bring dollars and jobs back to California," Proposition 39 – which passed Nov. 6 with 60 percent support – will do nothing of the sort.
This new tax, if passed, will deal a blow to our state's struggling housing industry and make an untold number of wood products – anything from furniture to tools with wooden handles – more expensive.
The legal battle isn't over, but this is an important step in stemming the tide of regulatory overreach that hurts businesses across this state and makes California an increasingly difficult state in which to live.