WILDFIRE POLITICS-Northern California is on fire. Indeed, the entire U.S. West is suffering from a serve drought.
Fires are raging throughout the region, with rising temperatures, a generally agreed upon the result of global warming and climate change, making the fire situation increasingly dangerous.
The fights against Northern California’s wildfires are led by Cal Fire, funded by the taxpayers of California.
California spent over $1 billion on emergency wildfire suppression last year. July 12, 2021, Updated: July 13, 2021, 5:36 p.m. Each year, the wildfire season in California gets longer, fires get hotter and more destructive, and consequently, the government spends more money fighting those fires. Jul 12, 2021.
Northern California has proven itself to be a mostly Conservative, Right Wing, and Trump country region with talk to secede from the rest of Liberal California, particularly the Bay Area and Southern California, and form the independent State of Jefferson.
A Conservative battle cry is the shackles of taxation, and California’s tax rate, blamed as the cause of the pending doom and downfall of the Golden State. Conservatives like to blame the state’s tax and spend Liberals for oppressive taxation for the so-called ruination of the state.
The wildfires, which are increasingly become more dangerous, and are called by fire fighters as unprecedented in their rage and destruction, are fought by Cal Fire. State funding for its programs, including for Cal Fire, comes from three sources of California’s taxation as listed by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office:
Personal Income Tax
The personal income tax (PIT) is a broad-based tax that the state levies on most types of income, such as wages and capital gains. The PIT is an important revenue source for the state government, generating over two-thirds of the revenue for the General Fund -- the state’s main operating account. In recent years, the PIT has generated more revenue than any other tax in California’s tax system.
For many California taxpayers, the property tax bill is one of the largest tax payments they make each year. For thousands of California local governments -- K–12 schools, community colleges, cities, counties, and special districts -- revenue from property tax bills represents the foundation of their budgets. Cities, counties, and special districts use property tax revenues to support municipal services like police, fire, and parks. Property tax revenue remains in the county in which it is raised.
Property taxes are levied by local governments on real property (principally land and buildings), as well as some types of personal property, which includes business property (like manufacturing equipment), aircrafts, and vessels.
Sales and Use Tax
California’s state and local governments levy a tax on retail sales of tangible personal property. This tax -- called the sales and use tax (hereafter, sales tax) -- is a significant source of state and local revenue. In this chapter, we draw distinctions between the products that are subject to this tax and those that are not. We also provide information on the variation in tax rates across the state and the distribution of revenue among state and local programs.
The urban centers of the Bay Area and Southern California are home to many Liberals. These urban centers are also home to the state’s highest income residents. It would seem that Liberals are paying more taxes into California coffers than Northern California residents who have lower median household incomes.
These same liberal urban areas have the highest property values in the state, and therefore pay the greater share of taxes than Northern California with its lower values.
And again, the Liberal bastions in the Bay Area and Southern California with a greater population than Northern California, by far, spend more. Consequently, they are sending more sales tax to California’s coffers.
It then becomes clear that the Liberals are paying more taxes into the state’s coffers, which in turn are being used to fight the fires now raging in Conservative Northern California.
As a California native, I am okay with this. In a sense, we Liberals have your back, Conservatives. This is what makes this the Golden State.
Make America Rake Again
Northern California is going through terrible times with wildfires continuing to grow in size and strength. There is worry, and loss. As a liberal resident of Los Angeles, I see my taxes go to fight fires and protect the lives and property of Conservatives in NorCal. This is how it should be. I have heard no demand from other Liberals to withhold firefighting funds for Northern California counties because we have political differences.
When Conservative Republican former President Trump was in office, he threatened to withhold Federal funding for California to fight wildfires. He said something about the need to rake the forest floor. Would that be to Make America Rake Again?
I am unaware of any type of threat from Governor Newsom to withhold firefighting to Conservative Northern California counties who not only want to secede from the state but are also supporters of the effort to recall him from office.
In California threats to withhold firefighting services because of differences is not happening and should never happen.
(Matthew Hetz is a Los Angeles native. He is a transit rider and advocate, a composer, music instructor, and former member and president and executive director of the Culver City Symphony Orchestra. He is a CityWatch contributor.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.