Why Vote against Proposition 30? Let’s Count a Few of the Reasons
By Aaron McLear
Proponents of Proposition 30 have been giving voters a lot of reasons to reject their $50 billion tax hike lately.
In the past couple of weeks, they’ve rejected something voters want — pension reform — and enacted something they don’t — the $200 billion bullet train. They’ve awarded pay raises to legislative staff and have been caught hiding tens of millions of dollars for parks. All after cutting funding for those same parks as well as higher education, courts and social services while growing the budget by $5 billion.
The parks department scandal is particularly problematic. It shows that even if voters approve the tax hikes, they cannot trust that the governor or his appointees knows how state departments are spending taxpayer money. Any credit the governor won through his early, largely symbolic austerity measures has clearly evaporated.
For voters who might consider supporting Proposition 30’s tax hike, the politicians supporting the measure are making that decision very difficult. Even if voters believe the threats by supporters that schools will suffer without the extra revenue, in light of recent events, how can voters trust that government officials will spend their money as promised?
The legislative pay raises show how tone deaf and disconnected from voters Sacramento politicians have become. With near super-majorities in both houses and Proposition 25’s majority-vote budget provision effectively eliminating Republicans from most fiscal discussions, Democrats govern unchecked.
They’re proving how dangerous absolute power can be.
They’ve made a mockery of Proposition 25 that voters approved with the promise of docking lawmakers’ pay without balanced budgets. The reality has become all carrot and no stick. While budgets have been passed on time, they’ve been billions in deficit, relying – just as before Proposition 25 — on overly-optimistic revenue projections.
Democrats also have done all they can to game the system in support of their tax hike. They moved all initiatives to November, when Democratic voter turnout is expected to be better than in the June primary. They pushed elections officials to rush approval of their tax measure and sit on others. And they’ve — possibly illegally — manipulated the November ballot to push the governor’s measure to the top.
And despite all the belt-tightening rhetoric, state spending has grown this year by $5 billion. What confidence should taxpayers have about how that money is spent?
The basic case being made by the politicians behind Proposition 30 is that the only way to save public schools is to raise taxes. They need to convince voters that they’ve been good stewards of the money they’ve sent to Sacramento. And, irrespective of the caliber of their stewardship, if voters don’t send more of their cash to Sacramento 6 million school kids will suffer.
The governor tried to make that case in Proposition 30’s first campaign ad released last week, unintentionally reminding voters of the trust gap he has yet to overcome. A San Francisco Chronicle review called his ad “dubious.” The San Diego Union Tribune wrote that it “could scarcely be more dishonest and misleading.”
The decisions the politicians behind Proposition 30 have been making show how out-of-touch they are with the electorate and jeopardize an initiative that is already clearly in trouble. Once it’s defeated those same politicians will be forced to make the tough governing decisions voters hired them to do and not take the easy way out with tax hikes that simply paper over the myriad problems they refuse to address.
Aaron McLear is founding partner of The Ginsberg McLear Group, a public affairs firm based in Sacramento. He previously served as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s press secretary and held communications positions with the Republican National Committee and the Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign. He began his career in Ohio politics working for former Ohio Governor Bob Taft and former Ohio House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson. A graduate of Ohio State University, McLear lives in Sacramento with his wife, Amelia.
Filed under: Opinionation
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