The Year in Review: Top 10 Worst Tax Gimmicks of 2009

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

It’s been a rough year for taxpayers in California. As 2009 comes to a close, Californians find themselves clutching their wallets more than ever.

Below, a look at the diabolical, dangerous, and downright worst Tax schemes of 2009:

#10: As part of last summer’s Budget deal, Legislators agreed to sneak an additional 10% Income Tax Withholding from Californians’ paychecks just in time for the holidays.

#9: Claiming he could solve the State’s budget crisis with a single puff, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano introduced AB 390. He claimed the bill would close California’s budget gap to the tune of $12 to $18 billion by legalizing – then Taxing – marijuana sales.

#8: Desperate to find revenue, Governor Schwarzenegger threatened to solve the Budget crisis&hellip one Golf course at a time. His plan to tax “greens fees, monthly dues, and golf cart rentals” got caught in the rough. Perhaps he feared a nine-iron to the rear windows of his black Suburban?

#7: Three words: Tax the Internet! (AB 178)

#6: Despite the recession and California’s record high unemployment, the Legislature manufactured its own version of Cap and Trade. AB 32 will cost Californians up to
1.1 million Jobs, place a $49,000 burden on California’s small businesses, and cost the average family $3,857 per year in increased living costs.

#5: Proving it’s a “dam shame” every time the State Legislature gets involved in solving a problem, the Legislature passed a bill to place an $11 billion Water Bond on the ballot during the worst economic downturn since The Great Depression. The bond will dole out billions of dollars in taxpayer monies, establish more government bureaucracies, and do little to address the water crisis in time to put farming communities back to work.

#4: As Californians struggled to keep their jobs and their homes, Assembly Speaker Karen Bass authorized pay increases for bureaucrats who work in the State Legislature. After the media discovered the raises, she revoked them.

#3: Still searching for more revenue, the Governor vowed to raise Taxes on beer and other alcoholic beverages just when Californians could use a stiff drink.

#2: In February, the Legislature passed the largest state Tax increase in U.S. history, which now has California competing for the highest tax burden of all 50 states.

And the #1 Worst Tax Scheme of 2009:

#1: Proposition 1A, the massive $16 billion Tax increase — more than double the February tax increase – was placed on the ballot by the governor and Legislature, funded to the tune of $28 Million by special interests, and described as “budget reform” without the promoters once uttering the word “Tax increase.” (Their Initiative, by the way, failed by a landslide 2-to-1 margin.)

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