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Coastal Voices: Taxing us into serfdom

“Taxed Enough Already!” is the rallying-cry of the Tea Party movement, and rightly so.

Tea Party Patriots protest not only wasteful spending at all levels of government but the increasing debt that must be paid with interest.  Making matters worse is the continued growth of government jobs during the Great Recession. 

We have two Americas, the government and the taxpayers who pay for government with no say in how tax dollars are spent and no way to stop the ever-increasing theft of our labor (prosperity). Ask a small business or family who they really work for and the answer is a bloated government. Our founding fathers gave their blood for freedom, not serfdom.

California is the perfect example of serfdom through taxation. For decades the Legislature’s spending problems have been hidden by elaborate shell games.  Move the debt around while they enact revenue schemes of ever-increasing fees, taxes, fines, licenses, permits, penalties and surcharges.  Sadly, 33 million people aren’t a large enough tax base as the Legislature, and bureaucracies, can’t tax us fast enough.

Few know that the state’s 2010 budget was over $200 billion with nearly $82 billion in federal funds.  Today the deficit is over $25 billion. Don’t blame the governor for our deficit problems; it’s the Legislature (Bonnie and Clyde) that controls the budget and voters keep sending them back to the bank. 

Whether it is the federal government or whoever owns our debt, this is a financial noose that enslaves the state and all its taxpayers. How sovereign can a state or person be if it’s beholden to another entity?

The deficit is symptomatic of a much greater problem; neither the governor nor the Legislature have the political will to reduce the costs and benefits of the public employee bargaining units ushered in in 1977 with the Dills Act.  The Legislative Analyst;s Office (LAO) analyzed The Governor’s Employee Compensation Proposals (dated Feb. 3, 2011) and the “fixes” proposed are as effective as a band aid over a gangrene leg. Read the analysis at lao.ca.gov/handouts/state_admin/2011/Employee_Compensation_2_3_11.pdf .

The governor proposes $1.5 billion in compensation savings but the LAO states, “one-third of budget savings (are) unachievable.” The state employs about 358,000 people, with two-thirds in the executive branch, costing taxpayers about $23.6 billion. $1 billion saving, or four percent, isn’t enough when 10-20 percent is needed. How can the needed savings occur when 185,090 executive branch employees are represented by 21 bargaining units? 

It can’t and here’s why.  Speaker of the Assembly and union organizer John Perez recently orchestrated nine of the 15 state employee collective bargaining agreements (six expired) representing a majority of the workforce.  Perez hails from the 46th District of Los Angeles (bordering the City of Bell) and had no opposition in his 2010 election.  Surprise, surprise!  His top contributors were unions.

One of Perez’ PACs received $225,000 from the California State Council of Service Employees, an affiliate of SEIU, with over 700,000 members in California.  That wasn’t the only union funding Perez.  To see the campaign contributions for Perez and your state representatives go to:    cal-access.sos.ca.gov/Campaign/Candidates.

Here’s the bottom line: Jerry Brown wants the Legislature to approve his initiative to extend taxes and our representatives will probably allow it. Come June the governor will beg voters to “reward” him with billions in taxes because he has a plan to save billions (the shell game).  Tea Party Patriots believe it’s time to cut up the credit card and demand that our state government reduce its size and scope.

There will be no fiscal responsibility until all elected leaders, and the public employee unions who control this state, bring compensation and benefits to sustainable levels that are more in-line with the private sector. This is just one example of many needed reforms. If the 130 Tea Party chapters statewide don’t make a stand, the future for our children and grandchildren is grim.

Government can live within its revenues; it takes political will and discipline on both sides of the aisle.  If you are taxed enough already, join the movement and demand that government be frugal with our money.

The Del Norte Tea Party meets the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at the Fairgrounds Arts & Crafts Building from 6 to 8 p.m.

Karen Brooks resides in Bayside and was the 2010 Republican candidate for the First District state Assembly.

 

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