A Nicely Articulated Budget “No” Vote


(Editor’s Note: The following is a well-conceived statement released February 13 by Sen. Bob Dutton, a Rancho Cucamonga Republican. It outlines why he won’t be voting for the current proposed budget which, incidentally, the California Chamber of Commerce, a traditional GOP ally, has urged lawmakers to support. Of note, is Sen. Dutton’s cataloguing of some of the negative effects of actions contemplated by the budget. This information comes from public entities like the Board of Equalization and the California State University at Sacramento School of Business. This information would no doubt have surfaced in legislative hearings on this budget proposal — had there been a single public hearing of any kind — and certainly could have been perused by the five publicly elected public officials who elected to create this spending plan in a series of private meetings with no input from the public — and little from their fellow publicly elected policy makers. Senator Dutton:)

“As California suffers through the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, I think often of that dedicated employee who just found out he or she has just lost their job and is going home to tell their family.

“I can’t get the image out of my head of that person walking in the front door and deciding exactly how to break the news to their spouse and kids – how to tell them that the life they enjoy is about to radically change.

“The change they are about to experience isn’t because of what’s taking place with the economy but rather what measures the state took to balance its budget after years of mismanagement.

“That’s the image I will carry when I go to the floor of the Senate to cast my vote against a budget that will raise taxes on California residents by a stunning $14.5 billion.

“This proposal includes a 1 percent increase in the state’s sales tax rate, which is already the highest in the nation; many counties will have a tax rate of nearly 10 percent. The Board of Equalization recently conducted a study that determined a 1 percent increase in the sales tax rate would cost the state 58,000 jobs.

“According to the Sacramento State School of Business, for those who don’t lose their job, this 1 percent increase will cost a family of four that earns $40,000 approximately $200 additional dollars a year. That’s about two weeks worth of groceries. I’m wondering which two weeks this family will have to decide they just won’t eat.

“I, for one, am not willing to do that to families. 

“This budget proposal includes increasing the tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon. The Sac State School of Business says this extraordinary increase will cost that same family of four an additional $400 annually.

“That’s another four weeks of groceries that this family will have to do without should this tax increase pass.

“I, for one, am not willing to do that to families.

“Then there is the doubling of the Car Tax (Editor’s Note: Vehicle license fees, most of which are tax deductible) for every registered vehicle in California. A vehicle valued at $20,000 will see an increase of about $130, meaning that family of four will lose another week and a half worth of groceries.

“I, for one, am not willing to do that to families.

“If that weren’t enough this proposal contains a provision to increase your income tax liability you have each year by 5 percent and reduces the amount you can deduct for children from $399 to $99. That’s another week’s worth of groceries for that same family of four.

“I, for one, am not willing to do that to families.

“With all these tax increases, Senator Abel Maldonado (a Santa Maria Republican) points out that this budget still gives $1 million to the State Controller for new office furniture.

“With all of these taxes, Sen. Bob Huff (a Diamond Bar Republican) has accurately pointed out that despite the downturn in the economy that has “thousands of Californians left wondering how the dream of homeownership could turn into such a nightmare and desperate to know when and from where they’ll get their next paycheck,” that the answer is “to take even more of your money to pay our state’s bills.”

“I, for a one, am not willing to do that to families.

“Even with all of these new taxes there is nothing in this budget that protects businesses from the hundreds of millions of dollars a year they have to pay for frivolous lawsuits to trial lawyers. It doesn’t do anything to help that nurse who must leave open heart surgery during an operation because she is forced to take a coffee break.

“I, in good conscience, can not look in the mirror and raise the taxes on the average family of four by more than $1,000, as the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has estimated. I can’t ask that family to go 10 weeks without groceries.

“At the end of the day I have to look in the mirror and feel good about what I see. I will be voting no on this budget.



Filed under: Budget and Economy


  1. I have a lot of respect for Sen. Dutton but his message misses the point. The real question that he needs to address is not how bad this budget is, but how bad the alternative will be if no budget is in place. I think there will be a similar litany of horrors, only worse, without this abomination.

    Comment by dcurtin — 2.13.2009 @ 5:12 pm

  2. While the negotiated budget clearly has many shortcomings, perhaps one of the most disappointing is a process that excluded valuable input from seasoned and thoughtful legislators such as Senator Dutton.

    However, facing a $42 billion plus deficit, none of us can escape the reality that the budget package that will be voted on tomorrow is imperfect, ugly and absolutely necessary.

    Using Senator Dutton’s metaphor of breaking the news to your family that you have lost your job, the first responsible action is to determine what must be done to put food on the table, pay the mortgage and keep the lights on. That means your college-bound daughter may have to postpone he plans for a year and get a job to earn money for tuition. The planned for family vacation won’t happen and the new car will wait.

    Those are the cuts. The spouse may have to go to work or get a second job, eliminating precious time with the family. Ugly? yes. But also necessary.

    That’s where we are in this state budget. The Republicans didn’t get everything Senator Dutton would like to have seen in this budget, but they extracted more from the Democrats than at any other time in recent history. Everyone should vote this budget up and move on to another day.

    Comment by Jim Earp — 2.13.2009 @ 6:03 pm

  3. Bueno, Sen. Dutton:

    Spoken like the immortal Don Corleone to the Five Families —

    “How did things get this far?”

    Comment by Gus Turdlock — 2.14.2009 @ 11:33 am

  4. The one thing in the budget even worse than the cuts is the budget cap; something that will harm countless millions of Californians.

    Comment by Rachel Richman — 2.15.2009 @ 5:56 pm

  5. Maybe we should just give ALL our earnings to the state and let them dole it back to us (and those more worthy) as they see fit.

    Comment by NoOneInParticular — 2.18.2009 @ 10:00 am

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