Jerry Brown may have come up with a boat that may float.
The governor‘s tax increase proposal that he hopes to qualify for the November 2012 ballot is a shrewd move that reflects reality.
•People aren’t in the mood for tax increases especially when they are fixed amounts they can quantify that chip away at paychecks - assuming they still have one.
•There’s a “tax-the-rich” sentiment but it doesn’t get a lot of traction with proposals that drip down to $150,000 per year incomes in areas of the state that makes such numbers closer to Middle Class and Macy’s and not the Jet Set and Neiman Marcus.
•People trust Sacramento about as much as they do a meth addict offering to house sit.
•At the same time people don’t relish further cuts in state services and schools.
•These aren’t exactly the Roaring ‘20s for people on fixed incomes, the unemployed, those who have had cuts in pay and hours, or have gone a number of years without pay raises.
•There is still a widely held feeling that Sacramento hasn’t done what most businesses and households have been forced to do which is rethink spending and get rid of duplicate or non-essential expenditures.
•The majority of Californians probably do not support the myopic views of the Stepford Republicans which is death to all tax increase proposals nor do they embrace the relentless push by Robo Democrats to jack up taxes and to expand government.
Hence, Brown’s proposal for a half cent increase in sales tax and a plan for those making $250,000 up to $300,000 to pay an additional 1 percent income tax, bringing their tax rate to 10.3 percent. Individuals earning more than $300,000 but not over $500,000 would be taxed an additional 1.5 percent, bringing their tax rate to 10.8 percent.
The plan is for a five-year period and would generate $7 billion a year and cover about half of the current annual deficit. That would require an improving economy to backfill the other half of the tab.
This, of course, doesn’t sit well with some special interest groups that want a bigger cut of the shrinking pool of state tax dollars and are intent on pursuing ballot measures that would impose significantly higher taxes.
Then there are those that want to extend taxes to services such as haircuts, babysitting, lawn care, as well as labor on auto repairs, and such.
Brown’s proposal provides something that has been lacking for the past 20 years or so in Sacramento - a middle ground.
Some say Brown was emboldened by the success of tax initiatives on local ballots that have enjoyed a better than 50 percent success rate in the past two years. Brown, more than anyone else since he was a former mayor, understands people are more supportive of taxes that directly impact their daily lives such as police and fire protection as well as streets.
It will still be a tough sell.
Still, instead of taking let’s say $300 a year out of the pay of a typical California in the form of an income tax increase it takes it out a half cent at a time whenever they purchased a taxable item.
It goes without saying that the more financially hard-pressed you are, the less likely a large chunk of your disposable income is going to be spent on items that require sales tax such as dining out.
Most Californians surely can do without more taxes.
But most Californians also understand the need for essential services such as schools and public safety.
This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at email@example.com or 209-249-3519.