A Government Of, By, and For the Corpse of Howard Jarvis

(I’ll be on KPFK at 8:40 Tuesday morning to talk about HJTA and the GOP. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

Anti-Tax organization makes CA GOP a wholly-owned subsidiary

by Brian Leubitz

It won’t be saying anything new about my opinions on Prop 13 today.  No, my loathing for an initiative that set the state, and the nation really, on a drug binge of selfishness and greed has not changed.  The sad state of the current generation of American voters, who have become the first Americans to cast off concerns for their children or the next generation at all, in search of a few extra bucks in their BofA statements hasn’t changed.

No, this is more about the state of the legacy of Howard Jarvis.  He has succeeded in a way that would probably even shock him.  With the 2/3 majority, his organization, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association can now wield an unprecedented level of authority.  In fact, recent events lead George Skelton to point the finger for the death of Gov. Brown’s jobs tax reform on HJTA and their new leader, Jon Coupal:

Brown and his advisors kept hearing from Republican senators that they sort of liked the governor’s proposal – thought it basically good policy – but wouldn’t sign on unless Coupal did.

“If Jarvis gives us a pass, we’ll be there,” is how one Brown intimate described the Republican feedback. “Coupal was the entryway.”

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Under Brown’s proposal, the assemblyman (Fletcher) added, “The people who stood to benefit were the working poor and small businesses, and they don’t have a powerful lobby. We were taking on some very powerful interests.”

In the end, the most powerful interest was the tobacco lobby. Cigarette companies prosper greatly from the current loophole. Their lobbyists swarmed all over legislators during the session’s final two days.

“It’s unbelievable,” Brown said in a Friday night statement, “that so many politicians in Sacramento would choose to protect cigarette makers and out-of-state corporations to the detriment of California jobs.” (LA Times)

But, alas, the cigarette companies have a lot of sway with both HJTA and with the GOP. Of course the order of those two organizations seems a little meaningless, as Republican legislators are now saying that they have to get approval from one dude with a membership list and a blog.

In the end, this all leads back to the stink of money.  Corporations do what they have to do to save money, and that means fighting for tax breaks on the back of the middle class.  But there once was a day that we could dream of legislators who could stand up to moneyed interest.  However in the day of multi-million dollar legislative races and the constant efforts to move up and over, perhaps that is too much to ask.

4 thoughts on “A Government Of, By, and For the Corpse of Howard Jarvis”

  1. Many Republicans urged Brown to immediately call a special legislative session on job creation and tax reform. “Trying to jam through a proposal on the last day … without transparency or input from the public … is irresponsible,” asserted Senate GOP leader Bob Dutton of Rancho Cucamonga.

    It does make you wonder if these failed plans are posturing from the start.  A proposal of this magnitude should be given more deliberate debate.  While I know I disagree with the Calitics consensus on many issues I think simplification of the tax code is an important step to any fiscal solvency for California.

    I do think that’s why legislators on both sides are so against it.  A flatter, simpler tax code takes away legislators power to reward specific monied interests for putting them in office.  And really, what would the lawmakers have to do if they could no longer reward those who ensure there reelections???? 🙂

  2. If a business owner in doing $300k in receipts he’s small potatoes. The average small business profit margin in 2007 was 6.58%, so Mr. $300K would be taxed only 15% on his $20,000 profit… the same rate his secretary pays on her income.

    If he’s clearing $300k per year in profit, he’s in the top 5% of earners and he’ll still pay on 15% on his first 20,000.. but he’ll pay 33% only the last $125,000 of his take. If he’s earning $125 million he’ll still pay only 35% on everything above $379k.

    In 1999 the top bracket rate was 39%… horrors.

    I’m using simplified single-earner rates and brackets here, but this is the principle of graduated taxation.

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