The reason why California taxes continue to skyrocket

TaxesBefore the ink on the governor’s signature has dried on the largest gas tax increase in California history, Sacramento Democrats are fully intending to break their promise to dedicate the new revenue to fixing our crumbling roads. In the upcoming budget, there is a proposal to divert 30 percent of this gas tax increase to items and programs completely unrelated to repairing our roads and highways, such as park maintenance and job training for felons.

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Regrettably, these bait-and-switch tactics are now so commonplace in Sacramento that few notice. For many years, billions in transportation dollars have been diverted from road building and maintenance to the general fund, which has created the crisis we are currently facing. Why would anyone think things will be different now with the new $52 billion car and gas tax hikes?

There are many other examples of lawmakers misleading the public when promoting new taxes. Sacramento sold the recent tobacco tax increase on the November 2016 ballot to voters as a way to fund Medicaid. After the proposition passed, the revenues were simply swept into the general fund and, as a result, doctors and millions of Californians on Medicaid are not receiving the funds which they were anticipating.

Just last week, we witnessed the annual practice of passing 40 “shell” budget bills that are virtually devoid of written content. The blanks will be filled in as the majority party rams through all the deals it makes behind closed doors. Even with the passage of a new constitutional amendment — Proposition 54, discussed below — requiring bills to be in print for 72 hours, the sheer volume of budgetary language makes it difficult for the public and media to truly know how taxpayer dollars are to be spent.

Sacramento may not know how to manage money and prioritize spending, but legislative leaders do know how to dissemble and divert public attention from the reality of the budget process. They prefer to keep average folks in the dark because they know the public would never approve these budget diversions.

Voters clearly stated they prefer transparency and public participation when they approved Proposition 54 last year. The proposition requires that legislation be in print and available for public view for three days before being voted on. Majority lawmakers opposed this reasonable measure because it blocked them from introducing legislation and immediately passing it, without public comment, often in the dead of night. For Sacramento insiders, secrecy and deception are a way of life.

Californians deserve real budget transparency in order to change this broken process and to reform the bait-and-switch culture that has led to a state that has become simply unaffordable. Ultimately, it is middle class and working class families that are harmed the most by the bad policies coming out of Sacramento. Affordability is one of the biggest and most important issues facing this state, but we are moving in the wrong direction because new taxes and fees continue to be imposed in the false belief that more government and higher taxes are the answer.

It should surprise no one that California ranks dead last in the nation on budget transparency. This needs to change if we want the Legislature to change its focus to promoting the wellbeing of average Californians.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. Vince Fong represents California’s 34th State Assembly district, which includes portions of Bakersfield and the communities of Bear Valley Springs, Oildale, Maricopa, Ridgecrest, Taft and Tehachapi.

This piece was originally published by the Orange County Register and the HJTA


  1. askeptic says

    Not in my lifetime (and I was one of those Leave It To Beaver ‘teens), has CA had a tax problem, but it has always had a spending problem.
    It is well past time to separate the candy-store from the diabetics in the legislature.

  2. TheRandyGuy says

    The reason is simple: One party, liberal Democrat rule is assured and the result is politicians that do not fear the voters. No matter what they do, the Democrats keep control of the government. As a child, if you feared your father, you obeyed. If you had no father to fear, you did as you pleased. That is CA today – the pols have no worry about what voters will do.

  3. winepapa says

    Our State Attorney General & our Governor should spend more effort enforcing the voter-approved transparency law than prosecuting an 86 year old lady for using her cel phone too close to a polling station in San Luis Obispo County.

  4. THE party’s over –turn out the lights—put baldy in jail and give him some camel dung for his head to grow some hair

  5. Nothing new here. Gas tax, registration fees, and cigarette taxes have been diverted for years. Gotta pay for those illegals and welfare leaches

  6. Brenda Torres says

    Have you heard the latest…Governor ‘Moonbeam’ Brown is going to run for President?!!!

  7. This legislature is the most fiscally irresponsible political entity in the United States and that is saying a lot! I hope that there are enough incensed tax-payers to sign those SB1 petitions.

  8. Victoria Smith says

    Prayerfully, folks will get sick and tired of the shenanigans in Sacramento and start paying closer attention and voting more informed (wisely).


    • When in the hell are we Californians going to wake up?
      No don’t try to answer, you have your pot to consume before you think on serious subjects, like when do we invoke a grand jury and put a lot of officials in jail for corruption.

  10. Michael McDermott says

    Bait and Switch or Gut and Amend – No one is safe when the One Party State is in session.

  11. Christian says

    Best thing you can do is share this with everyone.

    Post to FB and Tweet to everyone. Our media keeps Californians dumb and blind.

    We need for California’s Republican party to transform from a do nothing country club to a band of insurgents fighting with facts and exposing the corruption.


  1. […] do they really spend it on roads and bridges? Take the recent gas tax (take it, please!). Already, 30% of it has been extracted for projects other than roads and bridges like job training for felons. No one really knows where that money is going to end up, but as usual with the Left, the […]

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