California Taxes: The Sky Is the Limit

LA WATCHDOG--Despite record revenues, the State of California is asking us to approve $14 billion in bonds (Propositions 1, 3, and 4) while the County of Los Angeles wants the voters to bless the $300 million Rain Tax (Measure W).

  

This is after the State, County, and City have hit us up for $15 billion over the last two years. 

Over the last four years, we have also approved bonds that will allow the State to issue over $20 billion of debt.  These bonds will have an average carrying cost of $1.2 billion a year for the next thirty years.  

Unfortunately, the appetite of the State, County, and City for our cash knows no bounds.    

In 2020, the State is expected to place on the ballot two propositions that will raise our taxes by an estimated $20 billion.  

These include the “split roll” which would amend Proposition 13.  This will allow County assessors to value commercial properties at market value as opposed to the current system of relying on the purchase price.  This would raise an estimated $10 billion a year for local governments. 

The Legislature led by the profligate Senator Bob Hertzberg (D-Van Nuys) is proposing to apply the sales tax to services provided by accountants, lawyers, and other professionals.  The anticipated haul is $10 billion a year. 

Sacramento is also discussing two bonds offerings for $5 billion, $2 billion for the University of California and $3 billion to finance the deferred maintenance on the State’s neglected parks.  The annual carrying cost is estimated to average $325 million over the next thirty years.  

Of course, this is in addition to the revenues derived from the Cap-and-Trade program, a significant portion of which is devoted to the not so fast Bullet Train boondoggle.  According to Legislative Analyst Office, Cap-and-Trade will add 24 to 73 cents to the cost of a gallon of gas.  This will cost drivers about $2.5 to $7.5 billion.  Call it $5 billion.  

Overall, these proposed taxes will exceed $25 billion. 

The Los Angeles Unified School District is considering a $610 parcel tax for the 2020 ballot.  But will the dysfunctional LAUSD reform its pension and other post retirement plans or rationalize its bloated overhead?  Or does the School Board and its militant union believe that they have the God given right to pick our pockets. 

This parcel tax would raise $500 million.  

The City of Los Angeles is contemplating a measure to raise $4 billion in debt to finance the repair and maintenance of our lunar cratered streets that have been neglected for years.   

The cost of service these bonds will be around $250 million a year. 

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is also considering a $300 million vehicle licensing fee to finance smog reduction programs. 

The County has been quiet about future tax increases, but this is after tagging us for $1.2 billion over the last two years.  But it would not be surprising if the Supervisors are considering new taxes to fund the County’s ever increasing contributions to its pension plans and increased salaries. 

What does this all mean for Angelenos? 

Over the last two years, our share of the new taxes is $2.4 billion.  This works out to be $600 a person or $2,400 for a family of four.  This is the equivalent of bumping the sales tax to 13% or an increase in our property taxes of 45%. 

But if the voters approve the $14 billion in bonds, the $300 million Rain Tax, and all the other taxes and bonds that are being actively considered by our Elected Elite in Sacramento and Los Angeles, the total hit would $5.5 billion.  This works out to be $1,400 a person or $5,600 for a family of four.  This is the equivalent of bumping the sales tax to 18% or doubling our property taxes. 

And this does not include the impact of the cap-and-trade impact on gas prices.  Say hello to $5 gas.  

These increases are outrageous.  The nerve of these people!  Especially when the politicians refuse to reform the underfunded pension plans or take other steps to improve our infrastructure or improve the efficiency of the bloated bureaucracies.  

We need to send our tone-deaf politicians a loud and clear message that we are not their ATM and that we demand reform. 

Is it any wonder that we are the highest taxed state in the country with some of the worst infrastructure and the highest unfunded pension liability! 

Vote NO on the County’s $300 million Rain Tax.  Say NO to the authorization of $14 billion in bonds.

 

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch. He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and is the Budget and DWP representative for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council.  He is a Neighborhood Council Budget Advocate.  He can be reached at:  lajack@gmail.com.)

-cw