Written by Roger Hedgecock, former Mayor of San Diego
Wednesday, 25 January 2012
live in California. If you were wondering what living in Obama's second
term would be like, wonder no longer. We in California are living there
California is a one-party state dominated by a virulent Democrat Left
enabled by a complicit media where every agency of local, county, and
state government is run by and for the public employee unions. The
unemployment rate is 12%.
California has more folks on food stamps than any other state, has added
so many benefits and higher rates to Medicaid that we call it
"Medi-Cal." Our K-12 schools have more administrators than teachers,
with smaller classes but lower test scores and higher dropout rates with
twice the per-student budget of 15 years ago. Good job, Brownie.
This week, the once and current Governor, Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown, had to
confess that the "balanced" state budget adopted five months ago was
billions in the red because actual tax revenues were billions lower than
the airy-fairy revenue estimates on which the balance was predicated.
After trimming legislators' perks and reducing the number of cell phones
provided to state civil servants, the governor intoned that drastic
budget reductions had already hollowed out state programs for the needy,
law enforcement and our schoolchildren. California government needed
Echoing the Occupy movement, the governor proclaimed the rich must pay
their fair share. Fair share? The top 1% of California income earners
currently pays 50% of the state's income tax. CLICK BELOW TO READ MORE
California has seven income tax brackets. The top income tax rate is
9.3%, which is slapped on the greedy rich earning at least $47,056 a
year. Income of more than $1 million pays the "millionaires' and
billionaires'" surcharge tax rate of 10.3%.
Brown's proposal would add 2% for income over $250,000. A million-dollar
income would then be taxed at 12.3%. And that's just for the state.
Brown also proposed a one-half-cent sales tax increase, which would
bring sales taxes (which vary by county) up to 7.75% to as much as 10%.
Both tax increases would be on the ballot in 2012.
The sales tax increase proposal immediately brought howls of protest
from the Left (of Brown!). Charlie Eaton, a sociology grad student at UC
Berkeley and leader of the UC Student-Workers Union, said, "We've
paid enough. It's time for millionaires to pay."
At least five other ballot measures to raise taxes are circulating for
signatures to get on the 2012 ballot in California. The governor's
proposals are the most conservative.
The Obama way doesn't end with taxes.
The governor and the state legislature continue to applaud the efforts of the California High Speed Rail Authority
to build a train connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco. Even though
the budget is three times the voter-approved amount, and the first
segment will only connect two small towns in the agricultural Central
Valley. But hey, if we build it, they will ride.
And we don't want to turn down the Obama bullet-train bucks Florida and
other states rejected because the operating costs would bankrupt them.
Can't happen here because we're already insolvent.
If we get into real trouble with the train, we'll just bring in the
Chinese. It worked with the Bay Bridge reconstruction. After the 1989
earthquake, the bridge connecting Oakland and San Francisco was
rebuilt with steel made in China. Workers from China too. Paid for with money borrowed from China. Makes perfect sense.
In California, we hate the evil, greedy rich (except the rich in
Hollywood, in sports, and in drug dealing). But we love people who have
broken into California to eat the bounty created by the productive rich.
Illegals get benefits from various generous welfare programs, free
medical care, free schools for their kids, including meals, and of
course, instate tuition rates and scholarships too. Nothing's too good
for our guests.
To erase even a hint of criticism of illegal immigration, the California
Legislature is considering a unilateral state amnesty. Democrat State
Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes has proposed an initiative that would bar
deportation of illegals from California.
Interesting dilemma for Obama there. If immigration is exclusively a
federal matter, and Obama has sued four states for trying to enforce
federal immigration laws he won't enforce, what will the President do
to a California law that exempts California from federal immigration law?
California is also near fulfilling the environmentalist dream of de-industrialization.
After driving out the old industrial base (auto and airplane assembly,
for example), air and water regulators and tax policies are now driving
out the high-tech, biotech and even Internet-based companies that were
supposed to be California's future.
The California cap-and-trade tax on business in the name of reducing CO2
makes our state the leader in wacky environmentalism, and guarantees a
further job exodus from the state.
Even green energy companies can't do business in California. Solyndra went under, taking its taxpayer loan guarantee with it.
No job is too small to escape the regulators. The state has even banned
weekend amateur gold miners from the historic gold mining streams in the
Sierra Nevada Mountains.
In fact, more and more of California's public land is off-limits to
recreation by the people who paid for that land. Unless you're illegal.
Then you can clear the land, set up marijuana plantations at will, bring
in fertilizers that legal farmers can no longer use, exploit illegal
farm workers who live in hovels with no running water or sanitation, and
protect your investment with armed illegals carrying guns no California
citizen is allowed to own.
The rest of us only found out about these plantations when the workers'
open campfire started one of those devastating fires that have killed
hundreds of people and burned out thousands of homes in
California over the last decade.
It's often said that whatever happens in California will soon happen in your state.
You'd better hope that's wrong.
Roger Hedgecock is a nationally syndicated radio talk-show host.