“There is a certain amount of magical thinking going on under the Capitol dome. And the magical thinking is that the $13.5 billion can be conjured. Poof! Getting that $13.5 billion is going to take some taxes. And if it’s not going to be taxes, it’s going to take a radical restructuring of both public safety and public education. And if there’s a third way, I’d like to see it.”
Well, governor, given the choice, I vote for a radical restructuring of both public safety and public education. On public safety, you can start with pension reform.
Governor Brown and California Democrats are offering California voters a “stark” choice between extending income, sales, and car registration surcharges or enduring “savage” cuts in spending.
For me, the choice is not stark. It is obvious. I vote for savage cuts of $13.5 billion in addition to the Legislature’s already approved cuts of $14 billion (which I haven’t even noticed).
California’s tax burden is already outrageous. According to the Tax Foundation, California has the second worst state business tax climate after New York for FY 2011. The state also had the sixth highest state and local tax burden in FY 2009, which was equivalent to 10.6% of the average Californian’s income.
Yet the services the state provides do not justify the level of expenditures they consume. For instance, according to the 2009 NAEP fourth grade math test, California ranks 46th in the nation. However, the average public school teacher’s salary in California was $64,424 in 2007-08 — the highest in the nation.
Then there are the pensions. In December 2010, a group of 36 employees making at least $245,000 per year threatened to sue the the University of California system if the state reduced their lavish, gold-plated pensions.
They may have an argument for breach of contract. However, my beef is with a state that allows its officials to receive such ridiculous contracts in the first place.
There are still plenty of cuts to be had in California’s budget. I would start first with cutting pension bloat.
I have had enough of California taxes.