Gov. Schwarzenegger’s sales tax increase proposal, aimed at closing the $10 billion deficit, would be about as useful as telling a person to kick his legs while stuck in quicksand (Nov. 19 Our View, ‘No more ‘no new taxes’?)
A tax increase would prolong the state’s economic slowdown and take more money out of the pockets of consumers. Many legislators have a hard time admitting the state’s budget crisis is a result of decades of excess government spending, even though state spending since 2003 had increased nearly 33 percent up until last years budget cuts. It is unlikely that many residents truly believe the state government has served them 33 percent better since 2003.
While the budget problems facing the state will not be easy or painless to fix, prudent steps must be taken to prevent future deficits. The state can start by eliminating wasteful subsidies, reducing the cost of the state’s workforce, and creating more public-private partnerships. Long-term, the Legislature needs to look into enacting a sensible spending cap rather than chasing more money out of town with higher taxes.
Chicago, Ill. Budget and tax legislative specialist for The Heartland Institute
This Letter to the Editor was originally published in the Marysville Democrat-Appeal.