Democrats on the Senate Governance and Finance Committee blocked Senate Resolution 39 by Senator Mike Morrell (R-Rancho Cucamonga), a measure that would have recognized the historic passage of Proposition 13 and its role in keeping property taxes low for homeowners. The committee’s rejection of this measure comes on the heels of the largest gas and car tax increase in California history and the Senate’s recent passage of a single-payer, state-run health care bill estimated to cost $400 billion and that could increase personal tax bills by more than $9,200.
“It has become increasingly clear that Sacramento Democrats do not believe there should be any limits on the amount of money that can be taken from hardworking citizens to pay for growing government,” said Morrell. “Proposition 13 has empowered seniors on fixed incomes to stay in their homes and made homeownership possible for millions of first-time buyers. Senate Resolution 39 would have recognized this fact and shown the people of California that this body is in strong support of the initiative almost four decades after voters passed it.”
Proposition 13 was overwhelmingly approved by California voters in 1978 to lower property taxes. During a time of economic uncertainty, the law ushered in welcome tax stability and certainty. Today, Proposition 13 continues to save individual new homeowners and small businesses thousands of dollars annually in property tax payments. The initiative still remains popular with voters 39 years later.
“As we celebrate the 39th anniversary of Proposition 13, we can be thankful that property owners have saved hundreds of billions of dollars in property taxes,” said David Wolfe of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association in support of Senate Resolution 39. “The stability of Proposition 13’s one percent cap has been imperative to not only keep seniors in their homes and small businesses afloat, but also to allow millennials to overcome high home prices to be able to live out the American Dream.”
“Only in the California legislature would standing up for a law that saves homeowners money and prevents them from being kicked off their property be considered controversial,” continued Morrell. “Today’s vote should be a red flag to taxpayers, as it further reinforces the fact that Democrats want to see Californians pay even more of their well-earned money to the government.”
Senate Resolution 39, supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, failed passage in the Senate Governance and Finance Committee by a final vote of 2-5. Committee members voting in favor of low property taxes were Senators John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) and Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove). Committee members voting against the resolution were Senators Jim Beall (D-San Jose), Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), Bob Hertzberg (D-Los Angeles), Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens), and Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg).
The California Caste System
After the Legislature imposed billions of dollars in new car and gas taxes on Californians in May, a friend emailed me to register his disappointment and disgust: “It’s like we live in an apartheid society where the politically powerful live in luxury and laugh at the working people of our state.”
Sadly, his point is accurate. The separation between the ruling class and the rest of Californians is becoming more extreme by the day.
So much so, in fact, that California is beginning to resemble a society based on a caste system, meaning a formal structure of social stratification (usually associated with India) deriving from the hereditary division of the population into the highest caste (Brahmins) and various castes below.
California’s high cast Brahmins reside primarily in coastal enclaves including the San Francisco Bay Area, Santa Barbara, Malibu and the west side of Los Angeles but they are also numerous in the Silicon Valley and Hollywood. These elites tend to be high income or wealthy and can afford to separate themselves from the trials and tribulations suffered by average citizens. This immunity from “real world” problems allows them to obsess about issues like bathroom access, climate change or the president’s hair. They lack respect or compassion for less fortunate citizens and, if truth be known, they find those outside their caste to be annoying.
And a gas tax? This tax to them is nothing when they can avoid paying it by plugging in their $120,000, taxpayer subsidized Teslas. And if their cars do run on gas, they never even bother to check the price. These are folks who wouldn’t be caught dead in a Walmart.
Next in the caste hierarchy are the politicians and members of government employee unions. While the Brahmans may help to elect the politicians, as do the unions, this second tier caste is much less secure because they still have to scrounge for financial advantage. The unions — representing the highest compensated state and local workers in all 50 states — are constantly seeking more pay and benefits. And because the politicians are constantly trying to consolidate and expand their influence, they establish a symbiotic relationship with the unions to keep campaign contributions rolling in that guarantee reelection. (Some electeds, who have spent years living off the taxpayers’ dime, genuinely fear they may not be qualified for work in the private sector and so will do almost anything to keep a grip on power.)
These politicians will parrot the concerns of the Brahmins about matters like the environment, but they do not have a committed belief system. They trip all over themselves in their rush to make environmental law exceptions for projects like stadiums that are backed by wealthy interests or unions in a position to secure or advance the politicians’ careers.
The next rank on the scale of who’s who in California are the non-working poor. While the upper classes do not want to rub elbows with them, they are regarded as useful because their votes can be purchased through extensive entitlement programs that are paid for by the very lowest class.
On the very bottom rung of the stature ladder, the equivalent of the Indian’s “Untouchables,” are working Californians, and the lowest of these workers is anyone who labors at a job that requires perspiration — these are regarded as little more than beasts of burden.
When the elites bother to consider members of the working class, they regard them as a source of tax revenue and little more. Ideally, to their way of thinking, they exist to pay taxes and not make waves.
A massive new gas tax adding to the burden of working Californians? Why it is just the price of being able to share a beautiful state and great weather with their social betters.
Jon Coupal is President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association – California’s largest grass-roots taxpayer organization dedicated to the protection of Proposition 13 and the advancement of taxpayers’ rights. For more information, visit www.hjta.org.