Don’t Mess With Proposition 13

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Thirty-two years ago, Time magazine wrote about the passage
of  Proposition 13, "That angry noise was the sound of a middle-class
tax  revolt erupting and its tremors are shaking public officials from
Sacramento to Washington D.C."

The power of Proposition 13 to shake up the political landscape and
topple politicians, who attempt to undermine it, remains undiminished.

Just Ask Steve Poizner who ran as a fiscal conservative in the
Republican primary for governor while carrying the baggage of having
spent $200,000 to pass an initiative that has made it easier to
increase  property taxes for bonds that have cost taxpayers nearly $40
billion.   While he pleaded that he regretted his prior actions,
taxpayers,  especially homeowners, had a problem dismissing this, as
well as another  Poizner backed effort to increase property taxes, from
their minds when  they entered the voting booth.

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Licking the Knife Blade

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Like
the proverbial wolf that continues to lick the knife blade because  it
enjoys the taste of its own blood, the Democrats are back with  another
huge tax increase.

At a time when the state’s economy and taxpayers are still staggering
under the burden of last year’s $12.6 billion tax increase, Democrats
are pushing a plan to raise taxes by yet another $5 billion and to
borrow an additional $8.7 billion.

Among the proposals are extensions of the increases in the sales,
income  and car tax that were approved last year by the usual suspects,
but  were due to expire after two years.  This goes to prove the adage
that  there is nothing so permanent as the temporary.  In a recent
column,  Joel Fox, the president of the Small Business Action
Committee, provided  a number of excellent examples of "temporary"
taxes that seem never to  disappear.  Among those is the federal
telephone tax established to pay  for the Spanish American War, which
remained in place for 108 years  after the war ended.

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Greed and Ambition Fuel Prop. 14

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Promoters of Proposition 14 on the June ballot are calling it the "open"  primary.

Ah yes, "open" makes it sound so inclusive, so liberating, so
egalitarian — what could possibly be wrong with that?  If you pay
taxes  in California, the answer is: plenty!

Prop. 14 is the result of collusion between an ambitious politician,
newly appointed Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, and entrenched Sacramento
spending interests. A year ago, then-Senator Maldonado, a Republican,
sold his vote for the most massive tax increase in the history of all
50  states, in return for an agreement to place a measure on the ballot
that would make it easier for him to run for statewide office. That
measure is Proposition 14.

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Ammiano’s War on Prop. 13

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Well, at least he admitted it.

In a press conference yesterday, surrounded by his tax and spend friends, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano said he intends his bill to increase property taxes on California’s struggling businesses (AB 2492) as the a first step toward completely destroying Proposition 13. 

Specifically, he reportedly said of the popular tax protection law, "If it takes an incremental approach, so be it … my tendency is to want to nuke it." 

Of course if Assemblyman Ammiano wins his aggressive war on California taxpayers, the state will find itself in a much more devastating situation than we are even in now. His latest salvo in the form of AB 2492 would result in billions in new taxes on Californians – billions he and other politicians can use to fund their insatiable habit of creating huge new programs the state can’t afford. 

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Howard Would Be Proud!

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

In communities across the nation, taxpayers are standing tall, gaining strength by reaching out to each other, and becoming a major force for the protection of our constitutional liberties.

This is the type of movement Howard Jarvis hoped would carry on long after his 1978 Proposition 13 revolution. In his book, I’m Mad as Hell he stated “The message of Proposition 13 and its aftermath was clear: People can collectively effect change in the public interest, if only they get mad enough, and if their anger is rational and justified. People who want to do something don’t have to wait for somebody else to lead them: Americans can do things for themselves.”

Howard knew from experience what citizens can accomplish. In 1978, anger over high taxes, especially property taxes that were forcing people from their homes, erupted in an epic battle between average taxpayers and the entrenched forces of California government, including their special interest allies and government employee unions. When the smoke had cleared, Proposition 13, which limited annual increases in property taxes and required a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to increase state taxes, passed with over 65 percent of the vote.

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Let’s Put an End to Tax Tyranny

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Taxpayers are sick and tired of being used, abused, and forced to pay for government programs and services they don’t want at prices they can’t afford. They are irate at having to bail out politicians, most of whom have no notion of what true public service is all about and who run for office only because they can’t get real jobs and have egos that require constant maintenance.

In the immortal words of Howard Jarvis, “We’re mad as hell!”

California taxpayers are carrying an unsustainable tax burden. They don’t need to see the new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures to tell them that last year’s tax increase was the highest percentage increase – more than 10% — of any of the twenty-four states that raised taxes in 2009. They feel it in their bones. They also don’t need to hear that unemployment is at 12.5 percent — without counting the marginally employed and those who have given up looking for work — and home foreclosures are at record highs, to know that they are struggling just to get by.

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Time to Draw the Line on the Energy Tax

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

In 2006, California embarked on a great experiment by passing its own law to reduce global warming. But Assembly Bill 32, “The Global Warming Solutions Act,” is hardly a “solution” if you ask any economist, employer or taxpayer group. Governor Schwarzenegger inexplicably signed the bill into law, perhaps searching for some sort of legacy for his ill-fated administration.

Notwithstanding the fact that much of the law has yet to be implemented, its mere potential for inflicting massive damage on the California economy has already had a negative impact on businesses and employment. Ironically, there are no positive environmental outcomes as a trade-off for all this economic damage.

AB 32 won’t affect global warming one iota because California is only a sliver of the global pie, especially compared to China, India and Russia. Greenhouse gases, to the extent they have any negative environmental impact at all, have no respect for political boundaries. In short, the earth only has one atmosphere. But AB 32 will dramatically alter EVERY facet of life in California – whether you’re a business, a family, a taxpayer, or a consumer.

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High Speed Travesty

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

Obama’s decision to give California’s controversial High Speed Rail project a $2.25 billion boost could also be called Cash For Clunkers, Part Deux. Although barely a fraction of the $80 billion ultimately needed for completion it is unfortunate that the High Speed Rail Authority was given a wad of walking around money to fool around with. High on the list will be hiring more P.R. hacks to push the viability of the project in light of the embarrassingly inept "business plan" recently released and roundly criticized from just about every point on the political spectrum.

The truly bad news is that the Authority will undoubtedly use the funds to start digging holes up and down the state to get as much momentum as possible so that reversal of the decision to even build the project will be very difficult. Californians ought to be asking themselves a simple question. How many transportation projects that are actually needed could we have funded for $2.25 billion?

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Wheels Coming Off High Speed Rail

Jon Coupal
President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

When California voters barely approved a $9.95 billion bond measure for High Speed Rail in 2008, they had no idea how soon they would learn the true meaning of the phrase “being railroaded.” As more about this project is revealed, the backlash from the public and political leadership is sure to grow.

For purposes of full disclosure, Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association ran the unsuccessful campaign against Prop 1A (not to be confused with 2009’s Prop 1A, an attempt to raise $16 billion in new taxes). Our most potent weapon was a devastating study by the Reason Foundation which revealed that the proponents’ representations regarding costs, fare price and profitability were pure fantasy. But, from the start, we had an uphill battle convincing voters how poorly thought out this measure was. The California Legislature had already stacked the deck by providing such a biased title and summary for the measure that the issue of that deception is still the subject of litigation today. The deceptive ballot material, in addition to the campaign contributions from those who would profit from the project, was enough to ensure victory at the polls – albeit by a very small margin.

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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?

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