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Cameron Smyth: More new taxes are not the solution

38th District Assemblyman

Posted: March 28, 2009 11:04 p.m.
Updated: March 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Six weeks ago, in an effort to close a $42 billion budget gap, the Legislature passed a state budget that included $12.5 billion in tax increases, which are set to take effect on April 1.

I voted against these tax increases because I believe the state's fiscal problem is a result of irresponsible spending, not a lack of revenue.

At the time, the budget was heralded as a bipartisan compromise that kept California from going over the cliff of insolvency. Last
week however, the Legislative Analyst released a report showing that even with these new tax increases, the state faces another $8 billion shortfall in the coming months.

If this proves anything, it is that we cannot tax ourselves out of our fiscal predicament.

Now, just a month after saddling Californians with the largest tax increase in the history of the United States, legislative Democrats are proposing new taxes on everything from driver's licenses to plastic bags.

Raising taxes during tough economic times was a bad idea when it was done last month, and it continues to be the wrong solution to the state's economic troubles.

Across the state, families are struggling to make ends meet by tightening their budgets and eliminating unnecessary expenses.

Just a few days ago, in light of the extraordinary economic times we are facing, I voted in support of bipartisan legislation to extend unemployment benefits for many Californians who are out of work.

Yet in the middle of this, a number of lawmakers have decided that we need to pay more taxes.

Actions like these are why the American Legislative Exchange Council recently released a report that used California as an example of how a state's economy can be crippled by poor policy-making decisions.

Particularly disturbing are the proposed taxes on the companies and entrepreneurs who have continued to invest in California while so many others have fled to more attractive business climates.

While the majority party advocates raising taxes on oil and gasoline producers, the truth is that these costs will be borne at the pump by the very same Californians who already pay the highest gasoline tax in the country.

It baffles me how some of my colleagues can continually seek to impose increasingly burdensome regulations and taxes on the small businesses that are the backbone of California's economy.

Many of the legislators seeking to raise taxes have suggested that raising taxes again in the short term will lead to greater investment in the future.

Tell that to the families who don't know how they're going to make their next mortgage payments. Tell it to the person who lost her job and can't find work because it is too expensive to operate a business in California.

Tell it to the parents who are trying to put away money for their children's futures, even as they cut the family budget to the bone.

If there's a silver lining to this, it's the apparent lack of creativity among liberal, tax-and-spend legislators.

Almost every one of these new taxes has been introduced before. They have failed before, and they will fail again.

It's just unfortunate that the Legislature will have to spend valuable time killing these tax increases instead of addressing the underlying spending problem that has put us in this position.

Cameron Smyth is the Republican Assemblyman for the 38th District. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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