Mass Transit

California Voters to Gov. Brown: Stop Yanking Us Around


Take a note: Voters apparently have a dim view of being coerced into raising taxes.

Like the blonde chick in a slasher film: pretty and doomed.

A Field Poll of California voters finds that a majority of them – both Democratic and Republican – do not like the way Gov. Jerry Brown is triggering cuts to education in the fall if a tax initiative fails to pass in November. Via the Associated Press:

Nearly three-quarters of California voters oppose the automatic, midyear spending reductions that would balance the state budget if a November ballot initiative to raise taxes fails, according to a new Field Poll.

Seventy-two percent of registered voters, including wide majorities of Democrats and Republicans, oppose the measure, a central part of California's recently enacted budget, according to the poll.

The budget relies on $8.5 billion in revenue from Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to raise the state sales tax and income taxes on California's highest earners, and it threatens to cut education spending if the initiative fails.

Opposition to the so-called "trigger cuts" is greatest among Democrats—79 percent—but 68 percent of independent voters and 65 percent of Republicans also oppose it, according to the poll.

The reason, poll director Mark DiCamillo explains, is because education spending in California is actually popular. That Brown triggered the cuts specifically to foster grudging support of the tax increase seems fairly apparent to voters.

Less apparent to voters is the problem of California's growing budget deficit: According to the Field Poll, 37 percent of voters say Brown's budget cuts go too far, up from 27 percent last year (even though, if the tax passes, education funding will be increased (pdf) by 14 percent). Take a load of this final quote, which perfectly encapsulates this struggle in a nutshell:

Among those worried for the state is Mary Hildebrand, a retired elementary school teacher from Manteca. The 80-year-old Republican opposes raising taxes, but she also opposes the use of trigger cuts. "I don't see what can be cut, either," she said. "We hired people to figure those things out. They should be working on it."

Don't raise taxes but don't cut anything. What happened to those people we hired to figure out how to fix the deficit without raising taxes or cutting anything (like my pension)? Where are those smart government elites who will figure it all out for us?

Another Field Poll question takes a look at whether Brown's high-speed rail proposal (initial bonds for which may be voted on tomorrow) threatens the passage of the tax increase. The answer is: yes. Via The Sacramento Bee:

A fifth of likely voters who support Brown's proposal to raise taxes say they would be less likely to support it if the Legislature appropriates money for high-speed rail, the Field Poll found.

Lawmakers are expected to act on the $68 billion project today or Friday. Fifty-six percent of likely voters oppose the project, according to the poll.

"Here you have an unpopular, multibillion-dollar long-term project kind of rearing its head in the middle of this budget-cutting," poll director Mark DiCamillo said. "It undercuts that whole message, and that's really what's jeopardizing the Brown measure."

As I've mentioned before, the attack ads against the tax increase are going to be brutal come the fall if that train is funded. I've been looking to see if there is any growing will out there to try to recall Gov. Brown as yet, but the most I've discovered are a couple of Facebook pages with not that many likes.

NEXT: Modern Tax Farmers Turn Fines and Court Fees Into a Lucrative Business For Governments and Favored Companies Alike

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  1. Earth to California voters, stop electing the same assholes every election and having a heart attack every time someone wants to start a business or cut spending and then maybe they won’t be taxing you to death.

    1. I’m sorry, John, but California can no longer receive messages from Earth. It’s accelerating away from us at FTL speeds.

    2. Jerry Brown has been elected Governor by two separate generations of California voters. Its done for, man.

      1. they are hopeless

    3. Beaten to it again. Four more years! Four more years!


    1. For you

      1. That’s just out-right mean. That was a special occasion, it’s not like BakedPenquin dresses like that every day.

        1. Three days a week may not be every day, but it’s a lot.

          1. Hey, you try buying nice things like that on a fluffer’s budget.

            1. Look, when I was a fluffer, I worked another job as a gigolo so that I could, in fact, buy nice things. Stop being lazy.

        2. Had I known I was outing BP, I would have included the casual Friday photos as well.

      2. I’m going to go drink some Dran-O now.

        1. Absinthe is much better for this type of thing

  3. To the question “Do you want to pay more in taxes?” 80% of respondents answered No.

    To the question “Do you want more stuff from the government?” 80% of respondents answered Yes.

    1. The rich are still rich. As long as they’re still rich, there’s more money to steal.

      1. You know, the thought of tax SWAT teams kicking in doors in Malibu and Brentwood in search of swag is almost enough to shelve my libertarianism for a few days.

      2. I can’t wait until the only taxpayers left in California are Hollywood multi-millionaires.

        1. You forgot Silicon Valley multi-millionaires. But the Democrats didn’t.

    2. Yep. It’s not entirely the politicians’ fault. We are getting the government we deserve.

      On a related note, I’ve seen some people pass around polls that note that while people support repealing Obamacare to keeping it, if they add a third option to the poll that says “keep all the good stuff while avoid having to pay for it and eliminate the unpopular provisions that all the experts say are needed to make the popular ones work” that surprisingly ends up being preferred.

  4. Fifty-six percent of likely voters oppose the project, according to the poll.

    And that’s why this state is screwed. 44% of the voters, most of them Democrats, geuinely believe that government can do no wrong and that to oppose any project that represents “the future” is heresey.

    1. That’s millions of people. Holy shit. Ignorance is empire among these people.

      1. Basically we got rich Mitt Romney-type Republicans in Orange and San Diego counties, some geniunely good small government types in the rural areas, and then the rest is pretty much Dumbfuckistan.

        1. Yeah but support for HSR comes from politically connected uber rich douches in Hollywood, SF and Silicone Valley.

          Not crackheads in east LA or campesinos in the central valley.

        2. Dumbfuckistan sounds like a place Barack Obama would be suitable to rule.

          1. il Douchie de Dumbfuckistan

          2. So you’re saying he’s a secret Muslim.

  5. It’s the ‘more for less’ TV commercials. I had to explain to my eight and nine year olds that each time we shop, we’re not saving any money no matter what the ad says. They seem to grasp the concept. It appears Californians do not.

  6. Can’t we get an Eclipse-class SSD to superlaser California the fuck off of the face of the Earth?

    1. Let me get out first please.

    2. All these high-tech solutions…

      If you just roped off the deep water ports in San Diego, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Port Hueneme, and San Francisco the California economy would screech to a halt. I am not even sure you need the rope. Maybe just a sign of a buoy: “CLOSED”.

  7. How about Blofeld’s diamond encrusted space laser?

    1. Or Lex Luthor’s nuclear land swindle scheme.

      1. I think Harry Reid has that one in place as we speak.

  8. “Next man makes a move, the teacher gets it!”

  9. The 80-year-old Republican opposes raising taxes, but she also opposes the use of trigger cuts. “I don’t see what can be cut, either,” she said.

    Welcome to the mainstream GOP.

    1. Oh dear god.

    2. Everything’s already down to the bone!!!!

    3. Give me the budget, a high-powered laser, and a $10 million fee, and California’s budgetary woes will be a thing of the past.

      1. I’m old school, I’d want a few tractor-trailer loads of TNT.

    4. Well, she isn’t actually looking at the budget, so it’s a perfectly legitimate statement.

    5. CAGOP delenda est.

  10. What is really going on in California and some other states is a public test to see how appealing libertarianism really is to the voters. For true libertarians, there is rarely a question when choosing between taxes and any government service, be it education, public parks, or even roads. The true libertarian does not believe that government should be providing any of those things.

    The general public likes the libertarian idea of fewer (or no?) taxes, but as the parks and schools begin to close, they have second thoughts. This is not a libertarian country.

    1. Pretty much everyone that I talk to thinks the schools, police and firefighters are bloated as fuck and need to be cut back. And don’t even mention the state level bureaucrats. Everyone want them to disappear now.

    2. Even if the public were willing to go along with, say, shutting down the government schools, the government would almost certainly try to screw up the transition to a private system, just so they could say, “See, you need us!”

      1. They could try. I’m not sure they are in close enough touch with reality. Next thing you know, you’ve got 20 year olds with associates degrees helping 7 year olds get through the Khan Academy curriculum at a cost of about $1000/student/year. And most teachers wouldn’t have a full college degree until about the 7th grade level.

          1. Or even worse, a primary schooling plan along the lines of Wisconsin’s new certification style bachelor’s degrees.

      2. They would stick a 20% tax on private school tution and then say, “See, it isn’t cheaper!”

    3. That is some of it, and it’s true that the mushy middle of this country hates both taxes and spending cuts (along with reality).

      But it’s also true that the Washington Monument strategy is often employed.

  11. Automatic spending cuts = good. Shut down the whole thing tomorrow, unless you can expedite it and get it down this afternoon.

  12. Seventy-two percent of registered voters, including wide majorities of Democrats and Republicans, oppose the measure, a central part of California’s recently enacted budget, according to the poll.

    So, how are those new propositions that (a) require only a majority to pass a budget and (b) withhold legislator pay if a budget isn’t passed by the deadline working out for you, California voter?

    1. Since a “budget” is whatever the legislature puts on a piece of paper, it doesn’t mean anything. Taking away the 2/3 vote means the Democrats have to fight with each other.

      1. Yeah, but it’s a lot less public while it’s not embroiled in “It’s been blah days since the deadline” headlines and therefore what actually gets passed at the deadline is a shock to everyone.

        And now California is stuck with it. Just imagine how bad it would be under a governor who didn’t even pretend to want a balanced budget?

  13. Popular LA talk show hosts, John and Ken, have labelled the CA high speed rail project the Brown Streak. I don’t think any amount of political advertising can wash that clean.

    1. You laugh. Our streetcar system was unwittingly named the S.L.U.T. and there it strolls, everyday along South Lake Union, empty and riderless, and I’m paying for it.

      Clever insults for government projects are rarely effective in ending the project.

  14. I view California as sort of a bulwark for Fabian socialism. I believe Reason reported this a few months ago where residents of Marin County were outraged that George Lucas wanted to donate part of Skywalker Ranch to create a section 8 housing project.

    Basically these rich white liberals love to have the nanny state take care of the lower orders but want them to be good proles and keep their heads down and stay out of sight less they devalue their property or inconvenience them.

    1. The proles you speak of are Mexicans mostly, everyone knows this, and just pointing that out is racist. End of discussion.

    2. That story was awesome, but you omitted the part where Lucas had tried to develop that land into an extra movie making studio, and got so pissed at the Marin County people that wouldn’t let him do it, so it was really “revenge via housing project.”

        1. You know… in case anyone comes along and thinks that “racist” means “whatever the fuck we in Team Blue want it to mean”.

  15. as a captive subject of the People’s Republic of California, I find the general tenor of discussion with many people I know takes on a very condescending tone when I try to suggest that we, as a state, need to cut costs and live within our means. In their eyes, every one of these social programs is absolutely necessary, and the “right” of those so served. However, every once in a while, there is a breath of fresh air. Rep McClintock introduced amendments to Congress in the last several days to eliminate subsidies for Greens, the Nuclear power gang, and the Fossil Fuel contingent. I’m sure these will go nowhere, but at least one politician in this state is actually serious about limited government.

    1. You’re right, those did in fact go nowhere.

      90-95% of the Democrats, and about half the Republicans, voted against every one of those bills, including the ones to eliminate Fossil Fuel subsidies.

  16. triggering cuts to education in the fall if a tax initiative fails to pass

    This is SOP – threaten cuts to something sacrosanct if they don’t get their way, while ignoring the billions they could save by cutting useless crap that nobody cares about. It’s really disgusting, and I hope this time they finally get called out on it.

  17. California has an economy bigger than Greece no?

    This will be fun to watch. I will hopefully be out the state before the riots start.

    1. California’s economy is over 6 times larger than Greece’s. If it were a country, it would rank ninth in the world, just behind Italy and just ahead of Russia. When it finally goes tits up, it’s going to be very ugly.

  18. Brown is blackmailing Californians. Why does Brown always pick-on the most vulnerable, students and the public services? He should close corporate and commercial tax loopholes, introduce an oil extraction tax, an oil corporation, windfall-profits tax, Chevron of San Ramon made $27 billions in 2011 and paid no federal tax, and trim the service-debt paid to Wall Street. The High Speed Rail project should put on hold until a few years after the budget is balanced. These taxes have to be rolled-back. These budget cuts will prolong the recession. Why should the poor, the disabled and the vulnerable be blamed for the budget crisis? Brown is a corporate creature and is not working for Californians.

    1. Are you seriously arguing that Jerry freaking Brown is a right winger?

      HAHAHAHAHA What’s it like being mentally retarded?

      1. No, I think that he is from another state, and wants to get Chevron to move its corporate headquarters from California.

        1. Or hates CalPers, and wants America’s largest institutional investor to screw its members by not partaking in Chevron’s profits.

    2. Why does Brown always pick-on the most vulnerable[?]

      So Earl, your OK with Brown picking on people, but you want him to use your list of who he should pick on first.

    3. He should resign in disgrace for failing to bring all parties to the table to give to Mother California. You can’t ignore current pensioners, Jerry.

  19. That dude is like totally rocking it man!

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