Yesterday we had the reports of an impending gimmicky budget, but today we get a few more details:
Here’s some of what’s on the table without a bipartisan budget deal:
• Raising the state sales tax by one-quarter cent.
• Raising vehicle registration fees by $12 a vehicle.
• Adopting the so-called “Amazon” tax requiring online retailers to collect sales taxes.
• Adopting firefighting fee for rural homeowners.
• Cutting the budgets for the University of California and California State University systems by another $150 million each.(SacBee)
Now, some of these items aren’t entirely bad. In fact, I’ve written a couple of times in support of some of these measures, the Amazon tax fairness thing especially. However, each of these items should get a full hearing on its own merits, not a rushed process shoved into the budget fight. And of course, the additional cuts to UC and CSU continue to mock the long-dead dream of a California Master Plan for higher education. Sorry Pat Brown!
But, really, this is what we get with a bloc of legislators that won’t do anything other than complain about taxation. The fight today is really something of a bizarro world. It is like the 80’s Me-firsters decided that they were totally not down with helping anybody else. And they wanted all of their own damn money. And along the way they helped the super-rich game the system. As Robert Reich describes in the video, the top 1% of earners take home 20% of the nation’s income, twice what they did in 1980. Yet at the same time, they pay lower taxes than ever before, as the capital gains cuts have lowered their taxation down to the mid-teens. Meanwhile, as a nation we are only at 15% of income coming through to taxation nationwide. This is an astonishingly low figure considering our many military endeavors. In fact, it is the lowest rate in over 60 years.
Today we’ll get some sort of Frankenstein budget, but Brown will keep pressing in his Sisyphean task of getting some additional revenue into the system. At this point, I’m really past the point of surprise, all news is old news in Sacramento. In the end, it is hard to put this in anything but a class struggle construct. The rich are dominating governments the world over as they seek to increase their share. We can’t even protect our food supply anymore, and yet the rich still want tax cuts?
Amazing isn’t it?