As anyone who got a passing grade in Economics 101 will tell you, raising taxes in the depths of a major recession is a really bad idea. So I was glad to read in this morning's news that at least some of our leaders in Sacramento get it. In what the media are calling "a late-night coup", Senate Republicans gave the boot to their fearless leader who agreed to $14.3 billion in tax increases. Former minority leader Dave Cogdill of Fresno had apparently allowed the incessant drumbeat of Democratic petulance to mesmerize him into agreeing to such a ridiculous scheme. The budget deal lacked only a single Republican vote for approval. Hopefully, legislators who may have been close to caving in on this issue took notice of Cogdill's fate and will hold firm despite the inevitable increase in political wranglings.
Let's not fool ourselves even if many in Sacramento do. The problem with our state budget is not a problem of too little tax revenue. Our problem is that we spend way too much. According to the non-partisan Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C., California's per capita tax burden is already the 6th highest in the country. At the same time, Governor Schwarzenegger is proposing a 6.3% increase in spending for the 2009/2010 budget. Our leaders in Sacramento need to come back to the reality the rest of us are dealing with. If you don't have it, don't spend it.
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