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California lawmakers sue state controller for docking their pay for late budget

In another brazen move to cheat California, state lawmakers have sued Democratic State Controller, John Chiang, for withholding nearly $5,000 each (12 days or a total of $600,000) of loss pay and expenses for failing to balance the state’s budget on time.

Years of fighting over a balanced budget each year led California taxpayers to pass Proposition 25, allowing a simple majority vote to pass a budget instead of the two-thirds requirement. The catch, lawmakers have to send the governor a budget on time or face loss of pay.

Lucky for taxpayers and unlucky for lawmakers, the first year this law was implemented, the budget was late. Lawmakers contend they were unaware their first budget was flawed and that the state’s expenditures did not match revenues. Nevertheless, the first budget was rejected by Governor Jerry Brown (D), because it underfunded public schools to the tune of $1.3 billion.

However, the Democratic majority in Sacramento decided to renege on the law and will sue the state. John Perez, assembly speaker, said he was going “to clarify the constitutional role of the California State Controller.”

Of course, the lawsuit will not only cost the taxpayer’s money, but the Democratic lawmakers have retained independent lawyers who will invoice… the taxpayers.

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© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

While President Obama continues his tax the millionaires (actually those who make $250,000 per year) mantra in order to pay for the payroll tax holiday set to expire in 30 days, California Governor Jerry Brown hoping to tax all residents in the not-so Golden State.

The Democratic leadership and union members in Sacramento are putting the final touches on a November 2012 ballot initiative that would make Californians the highest-taxed state in the nation.

Currently, California is facing monumental billion dollar budget shortfalls and Governor Brown wants residents to vote for a tax increase to narrow the gap. In June of this year, state legislators voted on a supposed-balance budget, but underestimating expenditures has left a $12.8 billion hole for the state.

Democrats are hoping good-natured residents will elect to increase the state sales tax by half-a-cent for the next four years.The tax measure would also levy a 1 percent income tax on income earners who make $250,000, 1.5 percent on income over $300,000 and a 2 percent income tax on those earning more than $500,000. Effectively the state income tax would increase from 10.3 percent to 12.3 percent making California the most expensive state to live. Governor Brown anticipates the increase will raise $7 billion, still shy of the $13 billion budget deficit.

California tax crusader, Richard Rider of San Diego Tax Fighters points out the hard reality for Golden State residents. “If passed, California will advance from the third highest income tax state to numero uno. Any sane rich person HAS to be thinking of moving out of the state.”

Rider explains that Maryland already enacted a smaller tax proposal with some glaring results. “About three years ago, Maryland raised its millionaires income tax. The following year, one out of every eight millionaires no longer filed Maryland income tax forms. A few died – the rest left. The net Maryland tax revenue from millionaires declined – and the state economy suffered from the loss of the big spenders. And the Maryland tax increase was only a FRACTION of the huge percentage increase being proposed by Governor Brown.”

To find out how dreadful California taxes are compared to the nation, please click Richard Rider’s Breaking Bad blog for complete up-to-date tax information;

San Diego’s Stop Taxing Us has also indicated that the state doesn’t have a revenue problem, but a spending problem.

“The State of California is in the middle of a budget crisis and revenue is not the problem,” said Dr. Gary Gonsalves, MD, the co-founder of Stop Taxing Us. “We have structural spending issues which must be fixed if the government of California is to live within its means.” Gonsalves cites one of the biggest offenders is the state pension crisis and transfer payment programs. This is just a math problem. We can’t raise taxes anymore; the people won’t stand for it. If we can’t raise taxes, how can we balance our budget? We have to cut spending.”

Rhonda Deniston, a director of Stop Taxing Us, argued against the higher taxes being proposed in Sacramento. “Every time California raises taxes, productive individuals flee the state, taking businesses and jobs with them.”

In an effort to curb California’s spending problem, Stop Taxing Us has proposed “The Promise to California Taxpayers. We intend to offer the Promise as a way for fiscal conservatives, regardless of party affiliation, to articulate clearly that raising taxes is something they will never, ever do. We want to make it easy for candidates to tell the voters where they stand. Additionally, we want California taxpayers to know which candidates protect them and, should the unfortunate happen…that is… if a candidate breaks his/her promise in office, we want to let the taxpayers know that their governing actions were inconsistent with their campaign rhetoric,” said Brian Brady of Stop Taxing Us.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Gov. Brown compares California budget crisis to Egypt uprising in speech

When drawing a comparison to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech and California Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State speech one thing rings hollow- substance. The president spoke to the nation for approximately an hour, while Brown chose a much shorter 13 paragraphs.

“When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can’t say now is the time to block a vote of the people,” Brown told California lawmakers last night.

The country remains mired in an economic recession complete with compounding debt and stubborn unemployment. However, California’s problems are much more grave- double-digit joblessness coupled with a $25 billion deficit.

California’s newly elected Democratic Governor is pushing lawmakers to increase taxes as a solution to the Sacramento spending spree.

“My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly, I believe it would be irresponsible to exclude the people from this process,” Brown explained. “They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those in this chamber. Given the unique nature of the crisis and the serious impact our decisions will have on millions of Californians, whether it’s more cuts, extend taxes, the voters deserve to be heard.”

Californians are no strangers to voting on ballot initiatives in fact, in the past 18 months there have been two tax increases proposed and both times they went down in flames. The state is already one of the highest-taxed states in the country, many Californians cannot afford higher taxes and judging by the recent polls they aren’t likely to change their minds about handing the state more money.

The Governor has proposed $12.5 billion in budget cuts, an extension of current taxes and an historical realignment of government. This program requires a vote from residents in a special election before it could become effective, according to a statement released from Brown.

“My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly I believe it would be irresponsible for us to exclude the people from this process,” he said. “They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those of us in this chamber.”

However, the short speech was missing a key component that is strangling California economically- illegal immigration. Conservative estimates put the Golden State’s yearly costs for illegal immigration at $20 billion per year in healthcare, food stamps and other welfare programs. Yet the governor failed to utter a phrase about this very real problem.

The Republican response to the Governor’s speech was clear- no more taxes.

“The people have made it clear; they don’t want to pay higher taxes. Voters have rejected every tax increase on the last two statewide ballots. It’s time for Sacramento to finally to listen to the people,” Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway said. “Republicans stand united as the only line of defense for California taxpayers. We believe the best solution to help close our deficit is not by raising taxes, but by creating private sector jobs. That is done by lifting regulations and by reducing frivolous lawsuits. We must also rein in soaring public pension costs and make government programs run more cost-effectively.”

Other leaders in California echoed similar responses to what ails the state and how to fix its mounting deficit problems.

“Instead of raising taxes, the Governor should issue an executive order immediately freezing all new taxes, fees and regulations that hurt jobs,” said George Runner from the State Board of Equalization.

“The Governor can talk about jobs all he wants, but it’s the private sector—not the government—that actually creates jobs. And right now California’s job creators have a severe hernia from trying to lift a mountain of new taxes, fees and regulations imposed on them during this economic downturn,” he finished.

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© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

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