Tag Archives: Jon Coupal

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.”

*** **** ***

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.

Legislating Under Duress

(I’ll be on the Bay Area’s Green 960 tonight with Angie Coiro to talk about the budget mess. I should be on around 7:15. You can stream live here. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

After a few failed attempts at a vote on the most recent majority vote package, the Governor is threatening a veto if he doesn’t get some “stimulus.” By way of explaining what the Governor’s words really mean, please just replace the word “stimulus” with “screw California’s workers.”  After all, it’s not like Schwarzenegger thinks we can give some sort of tax break or anything, no he’s talking about cutting overtime to employees, allowing shorter breaks, and generally taking a machete to worker’s rights in this state.  So, you know, we’ll be “stimulated.”

Both houses of the Legislature attempted to get a vote done last night, but that was pushed back to this morning:

Both houses of the Legislature were to convene this evening to vote on a new Democratic budget plan that raises taxes without two-thirds votes but the sessions were delayed as legislative leaders negotiated for a signature from Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Schwarzenegger reportedly was demanding concessions from Democrats on regulatory and labor laws that business groups have been demanding – changes that the Democrats’ allies in labor and environmental groups strongly oppose. (SacBee 12/17/08

This really is a strange situation, the Governor knows that he has a bit of leverage on this with the Legislative Republicans out of the picture, so he’s back to his right-wingish self. Attacking labor and quietly expanding the Chamber of Commerce’s stranglehold over the Horseshoe, he really is getting a knack for this. And yet, the situation is such that negotiation on these terms is mandatory, despite the fact that Arnold’s ridiculous “Car Tax” BS caused all of this.  Shock Doctrine anyone?

Meanwhile, Tony Strickland, showing his true stripes, has got the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s, and other assorted rightwingers all ready for a lawsuit against the proposed deal. If you happen to be in the Capitol, check out their presser this morning at 10 in Room 4203. If this gets a signature, we will surely see a lawsuit about 3 seconds afterwards. And no amount of Arnold cozying up to Jon Coupal on Prop 11 will avoid that.

UPDATE: Shane Goldmacher is reporting that Speaker Bass thinks the Governor will sign the bill as revised.  The bill includes some, but not all, of the Governor’s “stimulus” ideas.

Jon Coupal: No such thing as a loophole, a worthy tax, or a government at all

Jon Coupal is the head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and by the way, seems to be managing the Yes on 98 campaign. Coupal isn’t much a fan of government. In his world, we’d all fend for ourself in a state of constant battle with nature and our neighbors.

In recent weeks, Gov. Schwarzenegger, legislative leaders and the Legislative Analyst’s Office have called for eliminating what they term “tax loopholes” to help close California’s staggering $16 billion budget deficit.

But one person’s loophole is another person’s legitimate advancement of public policy. This is especially true with those tax credits or deductions that are both broad-based – benefiting large segments of society – and which result in a significant societal benefit.(OC Register 4/2/08)

He then goes on to talk about the home mortgage deduction, and how that’s terrific! If the evil Democrats succeed in eliminating it, surely every house in California will fall into foreclosure.

Uh-huh. There are a few problems with this, specifically that the Legislature isn’t trying to end the home mortgage deduction. There’s a name for this type of argument, ah, yes, it’s called lying. You could call it a red herring, or what ever you want, but, it’s just a lie. The tax loopholes the legislature is trying to close are not as big as the mortgage deduction. Like the yacht tax loophole. Apparently, Coupal is against closing that, but what policy purpose does that encourage? Ah yes, it encourages the time-tested state policy of moving business to Nevada.  A great one, there, Mr. Coupal.

Jon Coupal is comfortable with lying, though. Like when he says that Prop 98 won’t end rent control, it will merely phase it out. (Disclosure: I do some web work for No on 98.) Too bad he fails to mention that Prop 98 also ends tenant protections that block unfair evictions. So, sure tenants keep their rent control, until they get evicted, that is.

Coupal just continues his tired, old rant. “Government is too wasteful, private companies do it better and cheaper.” Yada, yada. Too bad they don’t actually have any evidence of that. In fact, the real evidence ends up quite to the contrary. Just look at the recent news that the Medicare auditor showed that the private medicare plans never provided any savings whatsoever over the regular Medicare plan.  The old, stodgy government run Medicare is in fact better.

But let Coupal rant about how he wants to cut education and cut services. His argument is tired as Prop 13. Let’s see this terrific Republican budget with all the so-called waste.  What Coupal and his cronies call waste, is what everyday Californians call a lifeline to the future: Good schools, safe and effective transportation, and care for those who need it most. If we state our claim clearly, voters will see past Coupal’s snake oil for the progressive truth it is obscuring.