Election Results -- What The Public Wants

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Did the results of the special election on the budget propositions really show that the public is against taxes and government, as the Republicans claim?  Recent polling looked at the reasons the propositions failed.  Polls are a useful way to understand what people really thing because they take a scientific sample, actually asking the voters what they think, instead of just repeating something that Republicans just say.  Let's see what the voters give as their reasons for opposing the propositions.  From the polling:

  • 74% of voters polled thought the election was just a gimmick, not an actual fix for California's budget problems.
  • 70% of the voters polled said the legislature is a captive of special interests (possibly because people are learning that the "budget deal" that they came up with in the middle of this emergency included a huge tax cut for large, multi-state corporations.)
  • In a budget battle dominated by Republican demands for spending cuts instead of asking the rich and corporations to pay their fair share only 19% of voters polled said that Californians are being asked to share the pain equally. 
  • And to drive that point home, only 29% of voters polled said that the budget should be balanced only with spending cuts.  According to the polling "even among 'No' voters, less than half (46%) say the government should rely entirely on spending cuts with no tax increases."
In summary, voters resented that the legislature is held captive by the 2/3 rule, and want them to address that instead of coming up with short-term gimmicks to get through another year while making things even worse later.

Additionally, and completely contrary to anti-tax and anti-government claims, the polling showed "broad support for new revenue streams."  According to the polling report, the public supports:

  • Increasing taxes on alcoholic beverages (75% support)
  • Increasing taxes on tobacco (74% support)
  • Imposing an oil extraction tax on oil companies just like every other oil producing state (73% support)
  • Closing the loophole that allows corporations to avoid reassessment of the value of new property they purchase (63% support)
  • Increasing the top bracket of the state income tax from nine point three percent to 10 percent for families with taxable income over $272,000 a year and to eleven percent for families with taxable incomes over $544,000 a year (63% support)
  • Prohibiting corporations from using tax credits to offset more than fifty percent of the taxes they owe (59% support)
The corporate right has to spin last week's special election as an anti-tax vote.  What else can they do?  But, as usual, their spin goes completely the other way from the facts.

Let's put them to the test.  The corporate right claims that this election showed that the public is solidly against government and taxes.  If they really believe that, how about reinstating majority rule in California, instead of requiring a 2/3 vote to pass budgets and taxes? 

Since they claim that the public is solidly against taxes, will they also support a straight up-or-down vote on taxes?  Of course not.  The public is not
with them and they know it. This is just a ruse to continue destroying our great
state and our democratic process
.

Mace's attempt to alarm the reader with evidence of "overpaid" civil servants is myopic.

All I see in the SFGate database is evidence of high-level executives, living in a high-cost-of-living region, earning salaries comparable to their private-sector colleagues... WITHOUT the stock options and bonuses.

What's alarming is the large number of senior employees in police, fire, and healthcare, whose income is pushed over $100k by overtime pay.

That's evidence of a broken government: unable to predict it's revenues, unable to staff it's vacancies and forced to rely on expensive overtime pay to fulfill its obligations to it's citizens.

The State's finances are a mess because we're in thrall to politicians who demand LESS government. As usual, they only succeeded in delivering BAD government.

To answer your question YES THE PUBLIC IS AGAINST TAXES. And it wasn’t the “Republicans” who are saying that. 1A failed in EVERY SINGLE COUNTY. It failed in San Francisco, Alameda and Sacramento. Those are not Republican counties. And please let’s talk about David Binder Research. Here are the groups they list working for.

Obama for America
California Assembly Democrats
California Democratic Party
15 Democrat Assembly Members
6 Democrat Senate Members
0 Republicans, Independents or Libertarians of any kind

In any poll you have to ask neutral questions. Here was the one question they listed in the article.

The special election was a sincere effort by the Governor and legislators from both parties to gain approval of compromise proposals to fix out state’s budget mess. That got 20%

The special election is another example of the Governor and Legislature’s failure to do the job they were elected to do. They need to stop going to the voters with political gimmicks and temporary fixes and instead make the hard decisions to really fix the budget. That got 74%

Guess what! I would be part of the 74%. Because they didn’t CUT CUT CUT. Because of the wording of the above question, and the fact that DB Research’s “Democrat” only work, I disregard all the other responses. They are horribly worded questions.
Now to the meat of your argument. Double every tax you want!

Alcohol = 350k
Tobacco = 1 Billion
Oil Severance Tax = 1.5 Billion
Loophole about property.. don’t know what that means
Lets add 2% to millionaires tax = 1.5 billion
Charge half of the 220,000 households above 250,000 1% and the other half 2% = 3.4 Billion
I don’t think it will amount to this.. but let’s just raise corporate tax 10% or about 1 billion.

Total 8.75 Billion. We are 26 billion in the hole. FINE. Cut 17.25 BILLION TOMORROW!!!!

It’s not the Republicans, it’s not the evil corporations, the gap is two wide.. We absolutely can’t come up with the short fall. I just want ONE, just ONE person to tell me how to raise 26 billion more without cutting!!!!!

Ed -

Yes, the props failed. But why do you think that means anything about taxes? Everyone I know who voted against the props did so because it put a cap on spending, and because it should be handled by the legislature. Others said it was too confusing to figure out what a yes or no vote meant so they just opposed them all.

In fact, in your own comment you write that the legislature didn't do its job and this should have not gone to the voters.

As for whether Binder is somehow biased, a poll is a poll. And as you know, pretty much every poll shows that the public supports government services and supports taxes to pay for those services.

BUT if you are so convinced that the public is against taxes, does that mean you support getting rid of the 3/2 requirement to raise taxes?

the caps were not the issue. if it was the teachers union wouldn't have pumped 10 times the entire no on 1A group had.

People were confused to begin with including me because the pro and con arguments never acknowledged the 2 year tax extension. thats why the early polls had it winning.

and with the 2/3rds requirement? what about California Proposition 56 in 2004 it failed 66%. every single progressive website talks about the 2/3 requirement. but they don't talk about the people wanting that safeguard there. we don't want more taxes.

like i said. I would have answered that poll with the 74%, but it would have been my frustration about the Governor and Legislator not CUTTING spending. however, you might have agreed with the 74% because you thought they should have raised taxes. Its a non-poll. it means nothing..

behonest other then "do you like free ice cream and cake" what poll about prop 1A would you and I agree. :0) ok.. i just cracked my self up

I can't help but think, California already has an unfavorable personal and business tax climate than it's neighboring states. Wouldn't raising taxes on businesses and high income earners motivate an exodus for more favorable tax regimes nearby, thus limiting any increase in revenues?

http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/topic/15.html

Alex,

Can you come up with ANY examples of businesses leaving California because of taxes?

The only one of these article that purports to cite a business actually leaving California was the Orange country Register story. But in the story the only business claiming that it left California did so because they were told to stop polluting and didn't want to pay for fire and safety inspections.

But let me ask, do we want a business here that pollutes and doesn't want to be responsible for employee safety?

In the Examiner story, Tesla is locating in New Mexico because the state is paying them $20 million, not because of taxes.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dave Johnson published on May 28, 2009 1:10 PM.

Statement on the California Supreme Court Ruling Upholding Proposition 8 was the previous entry in this blog.

New Budget Essay One: the "Meaning" of the Prop 1A Vote is the next entry in this blog.

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