Back in the day, when I was a Robbery/Homicide Detective we would arrest an armed robber. We always asked why he did it and how he thought he could get away without being caught. The answers were mostly dull and showed a
lack of imagination. The common denominator was they wanted the money and it never entered their minds they would get caught. This came to my mind
as I read the Orange County Register Opinion section of Aug. 30, 2012, a guest editorial by Jon Coupal: “Why would business back tax hike?"
Mr. Coupal, President of Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, outlines the top 10
Contributors to Prop. 30, the Jerry Brown sponsored Tax Hike for California. Six were government employee unions. Coupal rightly understood why it was in their best interest to take money from citizens and spend it on government. But the next four caught him by surprise. They included Blue Shield, Aera Energy, Occidental Petroleum and American Beverage Corp. There were 13 other major
corporations listed, most of these companies well known to all of us. Why were they giving money to raise taxes? They were afraid of what happens if they didn’t
While it probably would not meet the legal definition, this is definitely a nuanced form of extortion. If a private citizen did this it would be robbery (the taking by force or fear), but when the government threatens to adversely affect businesses it is called regulation.
Businesses in California have a choice, pay up or lose any chance of doing business in this state without having adverse regulations and taxes directed toward them. You get it—pay for play!
The Republican Party has no power in this state. The Democratic Party has placed its emphasis on growing government. If this state is to be saved, it will be up to the people. Most of us with a job are too busy working during the day, taking the kids to their activities in the early evenings and then getting home to catch our breath before starting out again the next day. The idea of attending meetings, rallies or calling neighbors to push against a tax that will do nothing but drag the state deeper into depression is just too much to ask. So what is the answer? People must demand accountability from this state government.
The best defense to the onslaught of advertising threatening to close our schools, close our parks or empty our prisons is to ask what has been done so far with the money the state already receives. How good are you at handling the money we already gave you?
In 1999 (if I remember correctly) there had been a budget surplus for four straight
years. There was a discussion in Sacramento about what to do with the surplus.
One suggestion was to return the money to the citizens. But we all remember what happened, they not only added programs to use the entire surplus, they made it part of the basis going forward. After all, what would be the chance the .com bubble would ever burst? This type of deep financial planning is still going on in Sacramento.
Before adding an additional burden of taxes on people, we might ask a couple
questions. Have we found all the unaccounted money such as that found in the State Parks Fund? Have we reviewed salary and benefits of state workers to determine where they stand in relation to other states which employ the same positions? Are we spending more for some services than other states in areas like Prisons or the DMV. We could go on, but the point is there have not been public hearings asking where we can cut spending. I’m guessing here, but if the state had a series of hearings open to the public asking for citizens to come forward and offer suggestions for saving money; we might find a few places everybody could agree cuts were possible.
What would happen if we brought in an independent auditing firm and offered them a percentage of every dollar they saved the state for one year? Do you think they would be able to find enough savings to pay for their services and avoid the need for a tax increase? I would love to have that contract.
The answer is….we have not tried anything but threatening the citizens and threatening businesses if they don’t go along with the powers running Sacramento. There is no government of the people in California; there are only public sector unions, special interest groups and politicians.
Our situation will remain the same until we all take time out from what we are
doing and start asking questions. We can ask each other about what makes sense. We can ask our representatives what makes sense. But most of all, when we walk into the ballot booth we can ask this simple question: what is more important, protecting your family or protecting the politicians and special interest groups. This will help you make a good vote. This will also help the politicians know that we the people are watching and they will get caught. Armed Robbery Suspects were slow to learn, we often had repeat offenders. We can
expect the same learning curve from Sacramento.