California lawmakers propose large, unnecessary tax increases – Whittier Daily News

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

California lawmakers have proposed more than $196.3 billion in tax and fee increases this legislative session, the California Tax Foundation reported this week. Clearly, state legislators still mistakenly believe that California’s government is plagued by a lack of money.

“During the first five months of the 2023-24 session, California lawmakers considered more than $196.3 billion in new taxes and fees, including a ‘wealth tax,’ a government-run health care system that would require hundreds of billions of dollars in new taxes, a tax on oil company profits, a corporate tax increase that would make California’s rate the highest in the nation, and numerous rate increases,” reports CalTax.

Most of this, $162.8 billion, comes from Assembly Bill 1690, which calls for such a large tax increase to help California create a single-payer health care system.

For context, Governor Gavin Newsom’s total proposed state budget is around $300 billion when all funds are included.

A bit more context makes it clear that the state does not need additional revenue. In 2017-18, the total state budget was $183,256,293. In other words, without a major new tax increase in that time, the state has seen massive increases in the amount of money it has to work with.

Tax increases are not necessary. What matters is how state legislators use the abundant money they have.

Californians have consistently signaled, most notably with their rejection of an attempt to gut Proposition 13 in 2020, that they don’t think they should pay more taxes. And they are right.

Also this week, the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California released survey results that show relatively little enthusiasm for even the most superficially acceptable type of tax increase.

PPIC asked Californians if they are “for or against increasing state taxes paid by some of California’s largest corporations.” It’s a vague enough question that one can imagine little sympathy for presumably large and wealthy anonymous corporations.

However, among all respondents, 47% of Californians said they were in favor of that idea, but 51% said they were opposed, including a solid majority (56%) of independents.

The numbers were mixed a bit among likely voters, with 50% saying they would support such a tax increase versus 48% opposing it. While it’s a bit more tax-friendly, it’s not a good starting point for any tax increases, especially once the negative offsets are discussed and voters are reminded that business taxes ultimately pass through to the government. consumer.

These same likely voters, however, were strongly opposed to other types of taxes. That is, PPIC asked them how they would vote on a local parcel tax to raise more money for local public schools. Only 43% said they would vote for such a proposal, compared to 56% who opposed it. Even 39% of Democrats said they would vote against such a tax increase, compared to 86% of Republicans and 59% of independents.

Californians across the political spectrum recognize that they are paying more in taxes than they should. State legislators should focus on making effective use of the money they have before asking overtaxed Californians for more money.