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The taking of money by force or fear

How Governor Jerry Brown convinced large businesses to give money to support a tax increase in California.

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
give.

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Lisa Sabat September 08, 2012 at 07:56 PM
The year is 2012. Our city of RSM is not solely made up of the typical OC inhabitant-we are all not conservative Replublicans. So why can't we have an impartial voice in our Patch? John Webb , living in Dove Canyon, prospering well, watching his companies grow, has a different lifestyle and experience which forms his permanent one-sided opinions that he writes about. Is there any one out there that can represent all the people in RSM?
Peter Schelden September 09, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Hi Lisa, Patch is an open forum and everyone in the community is encouraged to participate. You could tell us your side of things by starting a blog here: ranchosantamargarita.patch.com/blog/apply
John B. Greet September 10, 2012 at 02:50 AM
Sir Robert Peel had it right when he said: "The police are the people and the people are the police." Likewise, in this nation at least, the government is the people and the people are the government. A persistent majority of voters in California seem to fail to see the clear connection between their repeated ballot choices for our State legislative branch, and the abysmal condition our State economy is in, and has been in, for many years. Preliminary BLS data ranks California as having the third *worst* State unemployment rate in the nation. http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm At the very same time, as Brietbart reports, California has some of the highest tax rates among the States and, according to a corporate locations consulting firm, 254 California companies moved some or all of their work and jobs out of state in 2011, 26% more than in 2010 and five times as many as in 2009. http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/03/13/exodus-california-tax-revenue-plunges-by-22 The consulting firm cited the “top ten reasons companies are leaving California: 1) Poor rankings in surveys 2) More adversarial toward business 3) Uncontrollable public spending 4) Unfriendly business climate 5) Provable savings elsewhere 6) Most expensive business locations 7) Unfriendly legal environment for business 8) Worst regulatory burden 9) Severe tax treatment 10) Unprecedented energy costs. We must make substantive changes in Sacramento and soon!

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