Excerpted from Bakersfield.com
January 31, 2020
By Assemblyman Vince Fong
As California taxpayers, we should be wary of Sacramento politicians as they begin the budget process to determine how to spend the hard-earned money of everyday Californians. California’s record-breaking spending budget of $222 billion is large enough to rival the GDP of countries like New Zealand or Greece.
While the state budget has doubled in size in the last decade, Sacramento's addiction to spending goes with very little accountability. In this budget alone, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposes 25 new state departments and agencies, which means spending will only continue to increase year after year. This means even more tax and fee increases will fall upon burnt out taxpayers in California.
The latest monster proposal in addition to the budget will be on your November ballot. The ballot initiative will roll back parts of Proposition 13 — California’s last remaining taxpayer protection — to raise property taxes by billions of dollars annually.
Californians are rightfully upset about the never-ending higher cost of living in this state, especially because they feel like they are getting very little in return. Quality of life in this state continues to spiral downward as traffic congestion is insufferable, cost of housing is mind-boggling, homelessness is an epidemic and we are experiencing power shutdowns for days at a time.
The problem in California isn't a lack of tax revenue. The problem is a failure of accountability. Increasing taxes will solve little until there is stronger oversight to ensure money is going where it is supposed to. For decades, Sacramento Democrats have failed to make proper investments in our transportation, housing and water infrastructure. The results are terrible roads, lack of water to support our communities that grow our food and a growing homeless population statewide.
Despite the affordability crisis facing our state, Sacramento Democrats continue to be tone-deaf to the problems facing everyday Californians.
Voters will decide this November the fate of a ballot initiative that would enact the largest tax increase in California’s history. It would end proposition 13 protections for commercial businesses, resulting in a tax increase to the tune of $11 billion and would be another nail in the coffin for the state’s already worsening business climate. Higher costs for businesses would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher prices — applying even more pressure on California’s unaffordable cost of living that leaves consumers paying more than just about every other state in the country for housing, energy, childcare and groceries.
A tax increase this large will be yet another blow to the middle class.
Proponents pushing the anti-prop 13 ballot initiative cannot even detail how the money will be used. Introducing billions of new taxes without any accountability measures is always sure to be a bad investment for taxpayers. Giving Sacramento more money with little oversight is never a good idea.
While the threat to prop 13 from this initiative is real, the silver lining is that this is voters' chance to tell Sacramento enough is enough. If the ballot measure fails, it will serve as a mandate to shift California’s focus away from more taxes and back to restoring accountability so government runs more efficiently.
Assemblyman Vince Fong, R-Bakersfield, represents the 34th Assembly District.