Sunday, April 17, 2011

Another Step Towards Jerry Brown's "War of All Against All"

Last month, during the thick of the budget negotiations in Sacramento between Jerry Brown and a small group of Republican legislators, we noted the Governor's rhetoric in describing the consequences that would follow a failure to put his proposed tax extensions before the voters:
There'll be an unleashing of left and right forces. Everyone will come out fighting. California will become a battleground…. It'll be a war of all against all. The loser will be the people of California.
You know Nostradamus warned you about me.
Well, since those negotiations collapsed a few weeks ago, the forces of good and evil appear to be marching steadily towards their appointment on the battlefields of Armageddon. Well, at least the forces of evil are doing so; we're not quite sure what the forces of good are up to. The Contra Costa Times reports that public employee unions are starting to work with Democratic legislators to push tax increases that bypass the voters altogether. One of these is, of course, the millionaires' tax being floated by the California Federation of Teachers; we've shared our thoughts on this before. In addition, other unions are working on new tobacco and oil taxes.

This creates a problem for Brown, who has insisted on keeping his campaign promise not to raise taxes without approval from the voters. With polls showing voter hostility to tax increases, it's likely he would pay a price for hiking their taxes after lying to them. On the other hand, his allies aren't showing much sympathy. At least one Democratic pollster says, "Not to be cynical, but voters get it that campaign promises are meant to be broken."

We said it in March, and we'll say it again now: maybe letting people in Sacramento have this much control over our lives is a bad idea.


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