When Jerry Brown was governor of California the first time (1975 to 1983) he went on a safari to Africa with rock warbler, Linda Ronstadt.
Now, back in the statehouse as governor again (elected in November 2010), Brown ought to take another safari — this time to Silicon Valley (south of San Francisco).
Brown, who is sponsoring a November 2012 ballot measure to raise taxes, will, by visiting Silicon Valley, presumably learn how higher taxes will drive businesses, especially high-technology businesses, out of California and into some other state or country.
Under Brown’s tax plan, the top personal income tax bracket on California will go from 9.3 percent to 13.3 percent. The current top bracket of 9.3 percent starts at $48,000 and is the second highest top bracket in the nation. (Hawaii is first with an 11 percent rate.) If Brown’s 13.3 percent rate goes into effect, California will have the highest top bracket in the nation. Moreover, the California state sales tax, already the highest in the nation, will go up — statewide — by one-quarter percentage point.
(For information on state-by-state tax rates, click here.)
Already, Silicon Valley businesses are fed up with California. Apple Computer plans to build a new plant in Austin, Texas. Hewlett-Packard (HP) does not want to build anymore facilities in California.
Jerry Brown should be cutting, not raising, taxes. Lower taxes will mean more investment in California and more jobs.
Currently, California’s unemployment rate is 10.9 percent. The nationwide rate is 8.1 percent.
If Brown could spent some time with such Silicon Valley entrepreneurs as Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sergey Brin (Google), Larry Page (also Google), and Larry Ellison (Oracle), the governor might learn that risk-taking and innovation are more easily accomplished in a low-tax environment.
If Steve Jobs (Apple) were still alive, he might tell Brown what the Apple executive told President Barack Obama in 2010. Jobs told the president that Obama would serve only one term in the White House because the president’s policies are anti-business. (See “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson.)
If Brown does not want to visit Silicon Valley, perhaps he should go to Greece, where he will find out how an overly generous welfare state is going broke.