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Californians Voted For Their Budget Crisis

california-state-flag.thumbnail.jpgTo fix California’s budget crisis two propositions need to pass:

First: a repeal of proposition 13, so that a supermajority is no longer needed for budget changes and so that property taxes can be raised again.  Sorry, if you want government, schools and roads, you will have to pay for them.

Second: a proposition which outlaws all future propositions and allow the legislature to nullify any past propositions with a simple majority vote.  Californians have repeatedly proved that direct democracy does not work in California.  We can debate why, but the results are in.

Until they do, I will continue to maintain that the current budget crisis is the predictable (and predicted) result of Prop 13.  Californians voted for it, now they’re getting it.  It is not just a result of the economic crisis, California has been having budget crises for years.  It would be fundamentally unfair for the rest of America, through the Federal government, to bail out a State whose citizens refuse to be taxed at the level their services require.

Update: Apparently California Dems are going to try and sidestep Republicans and pass tax raises – a gas tax increase, sales tax increase and a 2.5% surcharge on State income tax.  Pretty horribly regressive taxes, but at least they realize they can’t just keep borrowing and loading the cost onto the future.  Still, as with New York, where Paterson isn’t willing to raise taxes on the rich, this is the wrong sort of tax to put on at this time.  (Well, arguably, a gas tax has some benefits, but the pattern is regressiveness, not "disincentivize using too much oil".)

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Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh

Ian Welsh was the Managing Editor of FireDogLake and the Agonist. His work has also appeared at Huffington Post, Alternet, and Truthout, as well as the now defunct Blogging of the President (BOPNews). In Canada his work has appeared in and BlogsCanada. He is also a social media strategy consultant and currently lives in Toronto.

His homeblog is at