Challenging Democrats On Tax Increases
August 6, 2003
If you want to get a clear picture of the failed fiscal policies of the Democrat Party in the United States, look no further than California. That state is just about as far left as you can go in this country--geographically and politically!
For months, Democrat lawmakers in California has been hammering Republicans day after day for massive tax increases to be passed to balance their state budget. The Democrats have kicked, screamed, threatened, whined and schemed behind closed doors to get tax increases passed with the new state budget. They even resorted to predictable tactics, such as pointing the finger at Republicans and claiming that they want old people to starve and go without medicine. They have also stated that Republicans donít want children to get a good education by refusing to raise taxes to increase education spending (hmm, where have we heard that before? Hint: Can you say Inez ďI think Iím running for the U.S. Senate, but Iím not sure yetĒ Tenenbaum?).
But, guess what? Although Republicans are in the minority in both houses of the state legislature in California, they were successful in blocking these desperate Democrat attempts to raise taxes. The Democrats buckled under the pressure like a 450-pound man sitting in a three-legged chair! Even worse, the Democrats all but admitted that their primary purpose with their push for tax increases was to embarrass the Republicans and to strong arm them into voting for tax increases. The Democrats knew all along that the budget could be balanced without passing any new taxes. The fact is that they didnít want to be against tax increases because it goes against everything they stand for--namely more government and higher taxes!
Although the California budget that passed did not contain any new taxes, it still isnít something conservative Republicans are very happy about. It is heavily dependent on Washington lawmakers to pass strong economic policies that will help grow the national economy. The thinking is that if the national economy grows that California will benefit from it by collecting more money in sales tax revenue, the ill-advised economic policies of Sacramento notwithstanding.
However, if the economy is slow to grow in the next year, California is in deep trouble financially where even bankruptcy would be a likely option. While I am confident that the economy will rebound fully by the end of the year and well into 2004 thanks to the Bush tax cuts, there is no way to know what is going to happen. But at least the California economy will be spared the immediate threat posed by new taxes as it was over a decade ago.
California Republicans learned their lesson about the dangers of tax increases in 1991. Then-Governor Pete Wilson, a moderate Republican, was a strong advocate of massive tax increases during a recession. Little did he know that would produce extremely hazardous consequences on the state budget. Liberal economic policy wonks within his administration were confident that the state would reap a $7 billion surplus as a result of the tax increases. But guess what? California actually LOST $1.2 billion! It was a hard lesson, but one that has stuck with California Republicans to this day.
Consequently, Wilson and Republican lawmakers cut spending for three consecutive years after increasing taxes to help the economy as it was coming out of the recession and saw the budget surplus balloon to a robust $10 billion. Every year that California cut taxes and/or spending, it saw record surpluses.
But then in 2000, the Democrats were back on the tax increase bandwagon again. As soon as they pushed through tax increases in the state budget, the state economy began to slow down rapidly. The Democrats like to blame the economic policies of President George W. Bush for this, but the recession in California actually started while Clinton was still president. In fact, Iíve noticed the Democrats love to put the blame on Republican presidents for a down economy, EVEN IF THEY WERENíT IN OFFICE YET! Have you ever heard a Democrat talk about the financial or national security devastation that resulted under the watch of Bill Clinton. Nooooo. This explains why nobody is paying attention to the Chicken Little yelps of liberals nowadays!
The adverse economic chain reaction set in motion by the Democrats had begun again. As taxes and energy prices climbed in California, job growth and tax revenue dropped. All of this came to a head in May 2001 when it was obvious that California was in serious financial trouble. In reaction to this, the Democrats began moaning and groaning about the absolute dire need to raise taxes in order for the state to survive financially.
Meanwhile, Republicans were taking calculated measures to fix this mess the Democrats had created. They knew from personal history that increasing taxes was a sure-fire way to destroy the already unstable state economy. Even Gov. Davisí economic advisors warned against a proposed sales tax increase because they feared it would cost the state jobs and business growth in the future.
Thankfully, the Republicans have won this latest battle in the war against tax increases. California still has a long way to go to be restored to full health. Like a boxer who has been beaten and punched to within just a few breaths of his life, California needs time to rehabilitate and recover from the devastating injuries that have resulted under the lack of leadership from Democrat dingleberry Gray Davis. What did California voters see in this guy?
California will need to undergo several more spending reductions and meaningful budgetary reforms to be restored to fiscal vibrance once again. At this point, any unexpected disaster, such as a terrorist attack (God forbid!) or an earthquake, could literally cause California to sink economically.
Furthermore, revenue projections are not guaranteed. The recently passed car tax increases that were illegally pushed through by Gov. Davis may be overturned by a court order or a probable new Republican Governor. That would leave a gaping $4 billion dent in the budget. Because Republicans are in the minority in the California legislature, there was very little that they could do to prevent the Democrats from counting on that money to be there. If it does not come in, though, that will be a decision that will be the fault of each and every Democrat lawmaker in California!
The point of this California story is that the taxpayers of California were not subjected to new taxes. Every other state in America is in much better shape than California. And yet many of those states, including ones with Republican governors, have opted to increase taxes as a way to resolve their budget problems. But California proved that resisting the urge to raise taxes can and should be done.
The Democrats will lie about the need to raise taxes time after time. They canít help themselves. It is something inherent within nearly every Democrat I have ever come across. They attack Republicans for wanting to strip vital programs, but Democrats never want to make budget cuts of their own. They say Republicans borrow from future generations to pay for tax cuts, but Democrats go ahead and nail the taxpayers of today with their call for massive tax increases.
Liberal Democrats have done everything they can to prove tax increases are the way to go. But courageous conservative Republicans, such as those in California, have stood strong against the attacks to insure taxpayers are not stuck with a bill they didnít need to pay. To further this goal, California Republicans are drafting a constitutional amendment to enact a spending cap in California. They are also putting legislation in place to promote business and industry in their state to help spur their economy. They are doing the little things that need to be done to get California back on track.
If the Republicans in California can get this much accomplished as the minority party in their state, then what is our excuse in South Carolina where we have a Republican governor and state legislature? With the upcoming 2004 election cycle coming soon, it is time for people to begin thinking about which candidates will make things happen by standing for what they believe and which candidates will continue to vote for the status quo. We need elected officials in Columbia and Washington, D.C. who will stand for principle rather than collapse under the pressure to raise taxes! California Republicans prove that challenging Democrats on tax increases is a battle that can be won!