Does California Need A Tax Cut?


In a state such as California; where the infrastructure is crumbling, the schools face shortages of teachers and materials, the police profess to need more officers, better equipment and more prisons, state Welfare payments to the poor and children are cut nearly every fiscal year to balance the budget, the state faces a $1.6-billion revenue shortfall, Congress may well fail to reimburse the state for $500 million in health care to illegal immigrants and Washington and Sacramento may take an additional $900 million dollars for various causes, our Governor and legislators are pronouncing the urgency of passing a 15% cut in income taxes. This tax cut will amount to over $11-billion dollars in lost revenue across the 3 1/2 years it will be phased in. The lost revenue thereafter will be enormous.

This would be laughable were it not for the fact that the Assembly has already approved it.

Unbelievably, Wilson is meanwhile refusing to accept $42 million in Goal 2000 federal funds for fear that Washington will dictate to his schools. This program is intended solely to elevate academic standards, improve reading, math and science abilities and help students stay in school. Nearly all other states happily accept this money but Pete Wilson allows our state's funds to languish in Washington. This is nonsense.

The Governor and legislature are obviously blindly following the lead of the U.S. Congress. They, too, want to cut taxes by 15% while decimating the very programs that provide the only safety nets available to the poor and children, reduce funding to our schools, alter Medicare so that the wealthy receive another little tax benefit in health care savings accounts, provide bigger and better tax perks to our corporate CEOs and their companies as well as all the other areas they have targeted for reductions.

I have another perspective on their motives, both at the federal and our state levels. I believe that the ultimate reasoning is this: reduce taxes now, which is always a truly decisive appearing and politically expedient move. In years to come, when the cuts deplete whatever revenue sources remain available, raise the fiscal poverty mantra and, once again, point to the poor and the children as a drain on our meager resources and cut more funds which allow these few women and children to eat and keep a roof over their heads. Then, when these cuts appear to inflate the budget reserves, the lawmakers can again cut taxes and start the cycle all over. Eventually, the poor will disappear onto the streets or into prisons and cemeteries and the conservative's idea of nirvana will be upon us.

This outcome will allow the lawmakers to increase the tax break largesse to corporations which will, in turn, vastly expand the contributions for their re-election and the furtherment of their own narrow causes. This also provides the corporations with a large pool of the remaining poor which can be easily exploited for their voluntarily cheap labor.

Should the opposing party meanwhile gain political control and chose to provide for the poor and needy, they can then be blamed for raising the taxes and being "tax and spenders".

This cycle must be broken and soon. We, as a nation, must stop allowing the politician's "crisis of the day" determine our future direction. We, the voters, must decide for ourselves where we wish to go as a country and where we wish our tax dollars to go. We must set a course towards the eventual inclusion of all Americans into our system and not just the wealthy and politically connected. My suggestion is still the PAC I spoke of in earlier columns. Only then will we, the vast majority of people, have a voice which must be heard and heeded.

If you want to reread those columns, this paper has some back issues available. A better place, if you're on the Internet, is at the new site for Another Perspective at http://www.concentric.net/~jcannon/. All of my past columns are available as well as links to most of the sources where I glean the facts for this column. As always, you can also write to me care of this paper or at jcannon@concentric.net.

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