“The reality of the state’s finances is so bad that Gov.-elect Jerry Brown and other Democrats believe if they educate the public about the enormity of the problem, people will support new taxes to bring in money. Will this strategy work?”
You’re jumping the gun. The question presupposes an endgame that has yet to be revealed. At first glance, it would seem the goal is to condition the public to accept cuts, rather than support new taxes.
What will work is cutting services: that will be the education. And then the tax issue will get a little more attention. The problem will come if and when the Dems don’t create a lot of choices for the taxpayers.
Someone needs to inject a reality check into the conversation about government finance. The political community has trafficked for decades on the notion that most of the budget problem is the result of “waste and fraud.” Now it’s time for some straight talk about what people want from government, and what those demands will cost – whether that ultimately means more taxes or reduced services.
What part of the last election didn’t they understand? The parks tax lost and another initiative making it harder to raise fees won. Democrats – and I’m one – need to suck it up and take the cuts.
Probably an easier sell to keep the temporary ones that are spozed to go away. That’s $8.3 billion. And then, of course, say we’re only keeping those temporarily a teensy bit longer.
It may, but it may take time and there may be some failures before new revenues and structural tax reforms are approved by the voters. The LAST thing that needs to happen is for Democratic legislators (or Republicans, for that matter), to “educate” the public. They have compounded the problem over the last decade by their failure to confront reality and say NO to their respective political bases. They each have ZERO credibility with the electorate and they have earned it. JB needs to be honest, lead by example, and take the political hit for legislators of both parties.
Voters believe the California government wastes most of the money it receives, so why would they give Sacramento more? Until Sacramento shows some high profile decisions where powerful interests actually take a hit, it will be difficult to pass new taxes. People are smart enough to know that legislators spend taxpayer money in a reckless way that legislators would not spend if it was their own.
An informed public can only help, and help can only come from an informed public. More power to the Guv-elect but it remains to be seen if wolf has been cried too many times or if the public is too jaded or too distracted.
Jerry has to do more than “educate.” The only way the people will accept increased taxes is if they see real, concrete, long-term spending cuts – this means dealing with the public employees’ unions. It will take guts and making a lot of Jerry’s friends very angry with him.
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