Everyone knows that today, April 15, is “Tax Day.” For many, it will involve a mad dash to the post office to pay your taxes before the midnight deadline. For all taxpayers, April 15 brings a collective sigh of relief that the burden of filing your taxes is finally behind us.
But what you may not know is yesterday California taxpayers celebrated a lesser-known holiday that the nonpartisan Tax Foundation calls “Tax Freedom Day.” On April 14, taxpayers across California finally earned enough money to pay their combined federal, state and local tax bills for the year.
Though largely symbolic, Tax Freedom Day is a monumental one for state taxpayers as it illustrates that we have spent 104 days working solely for the government paying our taxes. Only on Tax Freedom Day do Californians begin to take home paychecks for themselves and their families.
Tax Freedom Day shows that the tax burden on Californians is one of the nation’s highest. We pay the highest sales tax, highest gas taxes and the second-highest income tax rates in the nation.
With so many Californians struggling to pay their taxes and make ends meet, you would think raising taxes would be the last thing on the minds of lawmakers this year.
Unfortunately, you would be wrong. Just last week, Assembly Democrats proposed $14 billion dollars in higher taxes on Californians so they can continue their spending spree.
The problem is that many of these taxpayers are the same small business owners who create the new jobs we need to fuel our economy and get people back to work. These are the individuals who have been fleeing California, taking jobs and tax dollars with them.
With 2.26 million Californians unemployed today, and the state bleeding 586,000 jobs in the last twelve months alone, raising taxes is the worst thing the Legislature could do.
Employers are already taxed to the limit, and many are closing up shop or shipping jobs out of state because they cannot afford to operate here.
Now is the time for lawmakers to force government to live within its means and get out of the way of the small businesses that are the key to getting people back to work. We must craft a balanced budget that reduces spending, instead of penalizing those who are stimulating our economy and creating jobs.
It’s unfortunate that the Legislature’s liberal majority seems to believe that the state can tax and spend its way to prosperity. Opinion polls consistently show jobs, the economy and closing the state budget deficit are the top concerns of Californians. Ask any taxpayer on the street and they will tell you that they are overtaxed and want the Legislature to solve our budget and jobs crises by making the tough choices, not asking taxpayers to foot the bill for their poor budget choices through higher taxes.
We saw with last year’s budget that raising taxes doesn’t work. In 2009, the Legislature tried balancing the budget by passing the largest tax increase in California’s history, but months later we are still facing a $20 billion budget deficit.
Assembly Republicans are committed to bringing jobs back and balancing the budget in 2010 – with no tax increases. We understand that California taxpayers can’t afford to bear the burden for a bloated and inefficient government. Republicans will fight hard this year on behalf of taxpayers to stop any tax increases.