State Dems Just Don't Get It



In a move that likely will go nowhere, state Democratic leaders are pushing for additional taxes to help fix California's massive deficit. According to the Chron, the Dems want to raise taxes on cigarettes from $.87 to $2.37 a pack, and institute a 9.9 percent tax on companies that extract oil from California. The tax increases come on top of the Dems plan to raise the state vehicle license fee by $15. All of those ideas are perfectly reasonable proposals, but they have no chance of passing. The governor strongly opposes raising taxes, and the Dems don't have the votes to override his veto. In fact, they don't even have the votes to get through both houses of the legislature. As a result, the Democrats' proposals will only prolong the state's budget stalemate. So why are they wasting everyone's time?

The Dems would be much better off looking for ways to make spending cuts without devastating services. One obvious solution would be to seek cuts in state workers' pay. Cities and counties up and down the state have been doing just that in recent weeks to balance their budgets, and there is no reason the state can't do it, too. Most union workers understand that everyone has to share the pain during this tough economic time. Even in liberal cities such as Oakland, most of the public employee unions have agreed to 10 percent cuts in compensation.