What they’re saying about Jerry Brown’s tax plan

Gov. Jerry Brown today issued an open letter to Californians announcing, as expected, that he’s filing a proposed ballot measure to hike income taxes on those making more than $500,000 a year and temporarily boost the state sales tax by half a cent to prevent devastating budget cuts in education and public safety.

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“Californians realize that four years of draconian cuts have swung the pendulum too far. We’ve done enough damage, and enough is enough. It’s time to stop the bleeding and begin reinvesting in public education and local public safety. The Governor’s plan dedicates new revenue where it’s most needed – guaranteed to go directly into our public school and community college classrooms. At the same time, it protects ongoing funding for local public safety programs. The temporary taxes also create a more equitable system, with everyone paying a little more in sales tax while the wealthiest among us pay their fair share at a time when they enjoy record income growth. Bringing more balance to the support of essential services will begin to restore the greatness of our state.”

From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Dutton, R-Rancho Cucamonga:

“Clearly the governor has put tax hikes ahead of job creation. Californians have consistently voted down tax-only proposals. Senate Republicans continue a call to action on reforms first. Only with reforms can we put Californians back to work and restore the people’s confidence in state government.”

From Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles:

“The Governor’s revenue plan is fair, focused and forward-thinking. The plan asks the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share and takes us another major step forward on getting control of our long-term finances. More importantly, this plan helps minimize the need for cuts to higher education and other critical services and ensures that California is making the kinds of investments in education and public safety that will keep our communities safe and help our economic prosperity in the long term. I believe this is a plan that every Californian can and will support, and I look forward to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to win approval from the voters.”

From Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare:

“Governor Brown is once again relying on his failed budget playbook in proposing a massive $35 billion tax increase on hard-working Californians and job creators. Voters rejected similar tax increases in the past and have shown a strong reluctance in polls to accepting higher taxes to bailout Sacramento. Ironically, Sacramento Democrats are again proposing higher taxes at a time when Washington Democrats are suggesting a tax increase on families could plunge the country back into recession.

“Despite their rhetoric, it is clear that our state’s projected $13 billion budget shortfall is not the result of a lack of revenue, but rather that Democrats want to grow government spending by $10 billion next year. The majority party’s budget priorities are clear – sock working families with a painful tax increase to pay for more health and welfare spending and unsustainable public employee pensions, while education continues to take a massive hit. Assembly Republicans will again stand united as the last line of defense for taxpayers and will fight these reckless taxes every step of the way.”

Read more after the jump…

From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

“For more than a decade, Sacramento Democrats have been coming up with one tax raising scheme or another – none of which have worked. The answer to our budget and revenue problems lies not in taking more money from those already working but in finding work for those that are not.

“The fact that Governor Brown refused to present his tax hike to the press today demonstrates that he knows it is an unworthy proposal. Rather than simply sending Californians invoices for his spending sprees, he should go about reducing the size of the California government.”

From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

“Our schools and universities are fundamental to California’s status as the seventh largest economy in the world. The Governor’s proposal provides the reinvestment our education system deserves, while spreading the cost in an equitable manner. As the author of AB 1130, which would restore the income tax rate on super-rich Californians to what it was under Governor Ronald Reagan, I applaud Governor Brown’s fair-share approach. After the deep and painful cuts schools, public safety and other services already experienced these past few years, I look forward to working with Governor Brown to bring balance back to California.”

From state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco:

“For too long, the state budget has been unfairly passed on the backs of our kids and the most vulnerable. I commend the Governor for putting forth a tax proposal that will finally ensure the wealthiest among us contribute their fair share. I have been! consistently opposed to cuts to public education, as they hurt our schools, increase class sizes, and result in teacher layoffs. Enough is enough. Our students deserve better; our teachers deserve better; and our state deserves better. Governor Brown’s proposal, as well as an oil severance tax and accountability on corporate tax breaks, can bring equity to our budget and improve our economy.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Truthclubber

    From Truthclubber, registered (and frequent) California voter and taxpayer:

    “Cut the $#$%ing spending! You cannot expect us to believe that state government spending that has increased many times faster than the general population over the past 10 years is sustainable!”

  • Elwood

    Well, you know that if Nancy Skinner and Leland Yee are for it, it must be good.

    They are two of the finest minds in the legislature.

    And don’t forget the typical bushwa from Steinberg and Perez.

    My prediction: No tax increase initiative has a snowball’s chance in hell of passing.

  • Elwood

    “The Democratic governor blamed Republicans for blocking a similar tax vote this year. He said Democrats “went ahead and enacted massive cuts and the first honest on-time budget in a decade.” But absent higher taxes, he said the state could not eliminate its ongoing deficit problems.”–SacBee

    Jerry Brown is a disgusting liar. An “honest budget”? Funded with magic money? Oh, please!

  • John W

    All the experts say the state is already overly dependent on high-volatility taxes from upper income people. This will make me sound like a right-winger, but the dirty little secret is that California’s income tax rates on lower range middle income people are too low to generate the revenue we need. The effective tax rate on married/filing jointly with taxable income of $54,754 is only about 2.5%. And that’s on taxable income. The gross income for a couple with that much taxable income is probably more like $70k, which brings the effective tax rate down to less than 2 percent. In Colorado, not considered a high tax state, that couple would pay a flat 4.63% on state-adjusted federal taxable income (after adding back deducted state income taxes).

  • Rick K.

    Brown is the water boy for his public employee union backers. It’s not a coincidence that Brown introduced the pension reform measure just before he unveiled the tax increase plan. The pension reform plan is just “political cover” for his tax increase scheme. The pension reform plan will go nowhere because Brown’s union puppetmasters want it to fail. The firefighters, prison guards and CHP will not yield on their over-generous 3% at 50 pension scheme (S.B. 400 in 1999, a disastrous legacy of Governor Gray Davis) that is literally bankrupting the State government. The tax increases are necessary to sustain their bloated pensions, so firefighters and CHP officers can retire at age 50 and receive $100,000 per year for life. It’s insulting to ask California citizens to pay more taxes so that fat-posteriored CHP officers, firefighters and prison guards can enjoy lavish retirements. California voters have a duty to vote down Governor Brown’s tax increases unless meaningful pension reform is enacted IMMEDIATELY, not next year, but NOW.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    C’mon people now, smile at your brother an’let’s get together an’ try to tax one another right now

  • Don D.

    If Jerry Brown feels the state has enough money to fund illegal alien’s college tuition
    then he would be better off barking at the moon then trying to raise our taxes again!
    We are fed up with the waste and spend by our politicians in Sacramento. Thank god that the republicans held the line on his last attempt to extend the rediculously high sales tax and veh. fees.

  • Truthclubber

    I saw a special on CNBC earlier tonight that chronicled (among other things) how the (police) state of Texas got so tired of paying for being the #1 jailor of people per capita (the GOPers there realized they were going to bankrupt the state with yet more and more prison beds being built).

    They did a total 180 and started aggressive rehab/counciling/re-parenting of lower-level inmates to reduce “repeat” visits — and it WORKED! Their expenses per year have dropped several Billion (with a B!) in just three or so years!

    Too bad Moonbeam II is too in bed with the prison guard unions who would be hurt by such an approach to try it here in the Gilded State as a way to close a gaping gap in our own budget…