Taxes and the Progressive Democrat Agenda

By Lois M. Shade, Former Mayor of the City of Glendora

A chat with a friend, lead to a deeper conversation about the state of California. 

That is the State of California finances and eroding philosophy and how unappealing and unaffordable it is to the average middle class resident. Eventually my conclusion was we are suffering from those progressive Democrats in Sacramento who have no idea what a budget is and how much the average resident can continue to afford tax after tax and still live a decent life style and educate their children. Democrats’ agenda seems to be a take-over of California--to have complete and total control of our life-styles and what we are given to think, no matter what the cost.


When Senator Janet Nguyen, a legal Viet Nam refugee and citizen of this country, got up to talk about the history of Viet Nam on the Senate floor and it offended some, like Senator Ricardo Lara, presiding officer of the day in the Senate, she was shut down by make believe rules and ordered out of the room. It was never acknowledged Nguyen is elected and under our Constitution should be allowed to represent her constituency and speak.


Last week, we read about author and conservative Republican, Ann Coulter, being shut down and outed at the University of California at Berkeley. The college Republican Club had invited her to speak on illegal immigration on April 27th but University officials cancelled the engagement based on safety concerns for Coulter. They eventually offered a May 2nd date for her appearance, a time when students would be on break or studying for finals.


California Republican Party Chairman, Jim Brulte, in a letter to Governor Jerry Brown and Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom requesting intervention on behalf of free speech said, “The University is denying the First Amendment rights of the Berkeley College Republicans and other conservative students by prohibiting a speaking event featuring Ann Coulter, a prominent conservative commentator and multiple best-selling author. The University’s decision violates fundamental principles of free speech, equal protection and due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution, and should not be tolerated by Californians.”  I haven’t heard anything back about that situation so I’m guessing free speech at a taxpayer supported institution is not a priority for those two Democrats –Governor Brown and a gubernatorial candidate, Newsom.


Listening to conservative Republican Assemblyman Vince Fong from Kern County a week ago on the new gas tax gave me a new perspective on how important it was to Governor Brown and Democrats and to what lengths they would go to achieve another new tax regardless of impact on low and moderate income families. Fong reported the yelling, cursing and gang-banging screaming matches to achieve the votes needed.


As a last ditch effort to get that tax passed, they rolled in, on a stretcher, for the vote, one Democrat who had been hospitalized. One Democrat from Bakersfield, because he honored the promise he made to his constituents of no new taxes, lost his seat on one of his committees. Another vote was achieved by awarding a half a billion dollars for rail construction in Modesto. That was achieved by writing a new piece of legislation creating that award for his vote so no one could say that vote was bought and paid for by the Democrats.


We’ve now got, by hook and crook, that new Democrat gas tax to deal with and up pops another proposed tax or what Sacramento Democrats are calling a “solution” to the $20 billion L.A. County experimental mandate by U.S. EPA called MS4. MS4 requires all cities to create a system to guarantee when stormwater leaves their jurisdiction and gets to the ocean it is clean enough to drink. The first problem – it could bankrupt all cities in L.A. County. Cities asked Sacramento for help. That’s when they got SB 231 (Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys) a proposal to circumvent Prop 218, the voter approved proposition to allow voters to vote on property tax increases and a 2002 court ruling that said stormwater runoff was not sewer water and a tax proposal would require a vote of the people.


In the Senate Floor Analysis of SB 231 the state staff said this bill directly contradicts Prop. 218 and the court decision and asked, “Should the Legislature override the courts, and potentially the will of the people, by allowing local governments to raise fees [taxes] for storm water cleanup projects without a vote?” That’s a decision that could possibly cost homeowners $1,200 to $1,400 a year on their property tax bills. Cities asked Sacramento and our State Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) for help and he and the other progressive Democrats are going to make local electeds the fall guys for a federal mandate that singles out and targets one community – the cities of Los Angeles County. SB 231 passed out of the Senate on a 23 to 10 vote, with 7 Senators not voting, and Senator Hernandez voting to support the proposal. It now goes to the Assembly.


You still have some change left in your pocket at the end of the day? How about the Single Payer Plan proposed in SB 562, Ricardo Lara (D- Bell Gardens) that just passed out of the Senate Health Committee. Single Payer Plan is defined by one organization as … “ [a] system [that] finances health care for an entire population by using one public agency to collect all contributions and pay all bills.” The plan would accept all “contributions” from individuals, employers, and government agencies then would be pooled and provide benefits to all equally after negotiating the price of services, supplies, equipment and prescriptions for life.


The bill is new and not a lot of information is available yet but the L.A. Times provided:

·         SB 562 (Lara) would cover all medical expenses for every resident regardless of their income or immigration status, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency services, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care.

·         The bill would eliminate co-pays and deductibles

·         Insurers [those who provide insurance on the open free market] would be prohibited from offering the same benefits covered by the state

·         The system would be administered by an unpaid 9-person board appointed by the governor and legislature.


Senator Jeff Stone (R-Murrieta) said in a communications I received:

My friends, this will NOT be FREE I guarantee you. It is estimated to cost the State to provide FREE healthcare for all (documented and undocumented residents) over $100 BILLION DOLLARS a year! Our overall budget for last year was $127 billion for the entirety of the state budget. How will this debacle be paid for?


Stone suggests we might be looking at a new 9.5% payroll tax on everyone in California. Of course, that would be everyone that works if it is a payroll tax.


I will leave you with one last thought and hopefully the desire and commitment to become more outspoken in how your government operates:  "If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter." - George Washington