I see in the San Francisco Chronicle op-ed page our old tax-raising friends Lenny Goldberg and Roy Ulrich of the California Tax Reform Association are at it again promoting not one … not two … or even three tax increases — but six!
Voters have expressed time and time again at the polls that they have little interest in raising taxes. Goldberg and Ulrich see it differently. They claim that the taxes mentioned are ones the public “generally supports.”
It is not difficult for a voter to tell a pollster that he or she would vote for a tax increase but that is not always the way the voter reacts when he or she actually marks a ballot. Look no further than Proposition 29. The tax on only a small segment of the population was “generally” supported in early polls but remains behind, as of this writing, in the actual vote count – probably another in a long line of tax increases rejected by state voters.
One tax increase that Goldberg and Ulrich promote has been tested recently at the polls. The tax measure giving corporations a choice on how their taxes would be based faced voters as Proposition 24 in 2010. It was defeated with 58% voting No.
This tax increase proposal, like the others on Goldberg’s and Ulrich’s list, would hammer business and would have a ripple effect hitting consumers and the economy as a whole.
The tax-increase advocates seemingly put an oil severance tax and a business property tax on a higher place than the other taxes they propose.
They argue that California is the only oil-producing state that doesn’t levy an oil severance tax. They ignore the fact that oil companies pay taxes in California that oil companies in other states do not pay. California oil-producing companies already rank amongst the top five oil-producing states for taxes paid. An oil severance tax would boost the Golden State companies to number one by a large margin. Small oil producing companies might have to close down.
As far as jobs are concerned — as the Milken Institute reported in a study a couple of years ago focused on the Chevron Corporation, the company has 10,000 workers in the state, but due to a multiplier effect it is responsible for 60,000 jobs, which include suppliers to the company. Raise the taxes and employment will take a hit.
The same argument can be made for taxing commercial property of all types. Raise the taxes as Goldberg and Ulrich suggest and look for more unemployment in California.
Goldberg and Ulrich say they are seeking these tax dollars to help those in need. I take them at their word. But they should also mention that their organization represents public employee union members who benefit from the tax increases.
If nothing else, the Goldberg-Ulrich proposals tell us what businesses and taxpayers might have in store if the majority party secures the two-thirds majority to raise taxes in the legislature.