Californians are fed up with the budget games coming out of
Sacramento. We all want an on-time, balanced budget but Proposition. 25 isn’t the solution. In fact, it’s a recipe for disaster that won’t fix California’s broken budget process. It’s just another ploy by Sacramento politicians to give themselves more power.
In the quest for more power, the Sacramento legislators are trying to put one over on voters, dangling an empty promise of withholding pay from legislators for every day the budget is late. But when was the last time a measure written and supported by Sacramento politicians actually held them accountable? Even the Legislative Analyst admitted the provision in Prop. 25 that would require legislators to lose their pay is easy to circumvent.
All legislators need to do is simply throw together a budget full of sham fixes and send it to the Governor by June 15th. Nowhere in Prop. 25 does it say the budget must be signed, let alone balanced. This makes Prop. 25’s pay forfeiture provision meaningless because California could still not have a budget and legislators would continue to receive their paychecks.
Prop. 25 also isn’t about fixing the budget problem or punishing legislators. The real agenda behind Prop. 25 is to make it easier to raise taxes, increase dangerous deficit spending and allow Sacramento politicians to feather their nests and those of their big-government supporters.
What should concern Californians more than anything is the hidden agenda behind Prop. 25. Take a look at who’s supporting it and you’ll see the legislative leadership and their union backers, who are out to chip away at Prop. 13’s taxpayer protections. In fact, Joshua Pechtalt of the United Teachers Los Angeles, wrote to his members that Prop. 25 would “help set the stage for taking on some of the regressive elements of Prop. 13.” Maybe that’s why public employee unions are the largest contributors to Prop. 25’s campaign.
Defeating Prop. 25 would ensure the two-thirds vote to raise taxes is protected. This is why I am also supporting Prop. 26. Prop. 26 closes a loophole that politicians have been using to raise taxes by calling them “fees, ” which only require a majority vote to pass at the state level and don’t require voter approval at the local level. These hidden taxes add billions of dollars in higher costs that taxpayers, small businesses and consumers pay every day.
Just like all other taxes, Prop. 26 would require a two-thirds majority vote for a hidden tax at the state level and at the local level would require politicians to put hidden taxes up for voter approval. Instead of cutting wasteful spending, local politicians have been raising hidden taxes to pay for lavish salaries and pensions – with taxpayers footing the bill.
There’s no need to look father than the cities of Bell and Vernon to see why we need Prop. 26. Politicians have proposed more than $10 billion in hidden taxes in recent years. Enough is enough. Politicians have to start living within their means – just like California small businesses and families must do.
Prop. 26 opponents falsely claim it will undermine California’s environmental protections, but nothing could be further from the truth. These outlandish statements ignore the facts that Prop. 26 will not diminish the ability of state regulatory agencies to implement and enforce environmental laws in any way, nor will it affect the liability provisions of those laws to ensure polluters are held responsible.
According to former general counsel for Cal EPA Maureen Gorsen, regulatory environmental fees that are charged to fund state agencies and personnel needed to administer and enforce environmental laws, such as hazardous waste fees, oil spill clean-up fees and fees related to the California Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, all fall under one or more of the exceptions in Prop. 26 and would continue to be treated as fees requiring only a majority vote under the measure.
Prop. 26 would ensure hidden taxes are passed with the constitutionally mandated two-thirds vote at the state level and protects our right to vote on local taxes.
It’s time to hold politicians accountable. Vote “no” on Prop. 25 to end the budget gimmicks and “yes” on Prop. 26 to protect our right to vote on local taxes.