The New York Times just can’t understand how the most heavily taxed people in the country could reject more taxes. The fools!
On Tuesday, California voters nixed 5 ballots measures designed to raise taxes or hold off state fiscal collapse, via borrowing or reallocation of funds. The only initiative that passed was one that barred state officials from getting raises in times of fiscal crisis.
The Times was mightily miffed. “Direct democracy has once again upended California,” the paper fumed. “The notion of California as ungovernable grows stronger than ever.”
Now begins “the painful process of slashing state spending” — which will naturally require deep cuts in funding of shelters for abused women and children, among other high-profile programs. (There may be a move afoot to throw crippled war orphans into the streets on Christmas Eve.)
Think there might be some fat in California’s $143 billion state budget for 2009-2010? The Times doesn’t. Instead it focuses on calls to revamp the state’s constitution, to limit citizen participation in the budget process — which everyone from pseudo-Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to San Francisco’s leftie Mayor Gavin Newsom is now pushing.
This is the California elite’s way of thumbing its nose at voters. If you won’t give us the additional taxes we want to close a $21 billion budget deficit, we’ll just change the constitution to bypass you in the future. The Times thinks this a swell idea.
No one quoted in the story speculated on the possibility that high taxes may have contributed to California’s budgetary train wreck. According to the Tax Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index — based on a measure of five tax rates: corporate, individual income, sales, unemployment and property — in 2007, California had the nation’s highest overall tax burden.
This has driven businesses out of the state, increasing unemployment and decreasing tax revenue. The Times, which never heard of the Laffer curve, can’t imagine such a thing.