Go Bar Hopping…for the Sake of California's Disabled

Golden State lawmaker proposes nickel tax on mixed drinks to fund disability programs.


From the Twitter feed of Like a Libertarian comes word of a novel (read: disturbing) new tax idea:

A California lawmaker is blending a five-cent-a-drink tax on cocktails into the hectic end-of-session legislative push.

Angered by a budget deal they see as cutting out disabled Californians, advocates have been pushing lawmakers to better fund services. Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, is hoping the extra revenue can pour into state coffers from martini, margarita and Manhattan glasses.

"I've been aware for a while now that compared to other states our alcohol taxes are abysmally low," Bonilla said, arguing that cocktails are optional luxury items. "I was really looking for a way to fund disabilities services that wouldn't involve a regressive tax."…

Any bill imposing a new tax requires a two-thirds vote and thus long-shot Republican support. The minority party has already roundly rejected new taxes and fees to fund transportation infrastructure and other healthcare needs, but Bonilla said her legislation will serve in part to ensure the disabled aren't left out of the discussion.

"I think most people in California don't realize there's a crisis," Bonilla said, but amid the debate about boosting Medi-Cal reimbursement rates or taxing managed healthcare plans, "no one has really focused on the fact that we have a statutory obligation to fund these services."

Read more here.

And a quick note about California's Republicans holding up progress by withholding "long-shot" support: That's utter bullshit.

As Matt Welch noted a few years back, California is a one-party state, with Democrats not only holding all state-wide offices but commanding leads in both houses of the state legislature. There is nothing going on in California that can plausibly be blamed on Republicans anymore. If Jerry Brown's California has trouble funding any given thing, it's because of the legislative and fiscal priorities he and his Democratic Party have set.

The budget "crisis" in California now rests solely in their hands.


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  1. In this history of legislators saying “Lets put a tax on X to fund Y” has either of these things ever happened?

    1. The tax is sufficient to fund Y.
    2. The tax is actually used to fund Y.

    1. In Jersey the lottery earnings were supposed to be a set-aside for education. Of course, that didn’t happen.

      Never, never is the money actually used for its supposed purpose. It usually ends up in some general fund and accessible for skimming.

    2. I think sometimes the money is used to fund Y, but payments from the general fund to Y are reduced by the same amount, so effectively it might as well have just gone into the general fund.

  2. “our alcohol taxes are abysmally low”


    1. This explains Reason’s LA cocktail parties. It all makes sense now.

    2. Abysmally is her interpretation, but I think the alcohol taxes are indeed low in California because every type of alcohol is so much cheaper over there than in the Northeast.

      1. “It’s moving! Tax it until it’s dead!!!”

        Yeah, but what do you think of the gas prices? Keep in mind that there are 7 refineries in the LA area.

    3. Notice she is too dumb to realize (or care) what this implies for other California taxes which are abysmally high in comparison to other states.

      1. It implies that other states have abysmally low tax rates in comparison to California. The ratchet only works one way.

        1. It implies I am so politically naive that I could not see the obvious. Yucch,

  3. “There is nothing going on in California that can plausibly be blamed on Republicans anymore.”

    Why is plausibility a requirement? The people this is targeted to just want someone to blame, plausible is irrelevant.

    1. I blame Bush

    2. Republicans are still getting the flak for Prop 13, “a 70s Republican power-grab”, ruining education and the very foundations of civilization. Because those poor underdog Democrats are totally powerless to reverse it.

      I’ve spent a lot of time in California, but I’ve never lived there, and I still know what it is just from hearing Californians bitch and moan about it.

    3. As long as there is even a single Republican holding office in some legislative body, the Republicans will continue to be blamed for the failures of one-party Democratic governance.

      1. Years from now, when a mushroom cloud looms over Tel Aviv and the arab world is dancing in celebration….

        “The Iranians detonated a nuclear device in Israel!!!”

        Democratic politician: “I hope those fucking Rethuglicans are satisfied with what they’ve done…”

        1. “If only they’d supported Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran!”

        2. when a mushroom cloud looms over Tel Aviv Riyadh

          more likely

        3. I doubt the arab world would be doing much dancing since Israel would nuke everyone in sight in retaliation.

        4. Also, WTF does Israel have to do with a tax on gin and tonics?

      2. As long as there is even a single Republican holding office in some legislative body,

        Not even that. Libertarians hold no offices of note, yet we get blamed for all kinds of shit.

        1. There are 17 Libertarian officeholders in CA.

          You know Religious Institution Representative John Camera (L) on the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council causes all of the problems in LA!

  4. Drunk Kenny Rogers from “Mad TV” does not approve

    1. Until he drunk wrecks his car and loses a leg. That charactor is hilarious.

      1. I miss Mad TV. Superior to SNL in every way.

        1. Yep – and the birfplace of Keys and Peeles – whose season finale is tonight, I believe.

  5. Don’t you know that Evil Republicans stop everything here in California?

    If it mind-boggling that the progs here are so rabid brainwashed that their party literally controlling everything isn’t enough. They are just like the thugs in the one-party communist bloc countries, whose failure was always blamed on others

    1. I’ll take “Wreckers and Kulaks” for $1000, Alex.

      1. Goddamn vulture speculators!!!

        / Maduro

    2. And if it isn’t the republicans, it’s those evil corporations preventing Democrats from doing the right thing.

  6. The budget “crisis” in California now rests solely in their hands.


    If by “their”, you mean “the Republicans'”.

  7. “I was really looking for a way to fund disabilities services that wouldn’t involve a regressive tax.”

    Because poor people don’t drink?

  8. Hey California, how ’bout a tax on each and every illegal alien in the state? You know, the ones that are sucking up all the tax money currently collected that should be spent on actual citizens?

    How about also a cocaine tax on every dope fiend in Hollywood or Sacramento?

  9. Since 2014, the Democrats hold 26 of 40 (or 65%) State Senate seats and 52 of 80 (or 65%) of State Assembly seats. That’s 1 seat short of 2/3s of the State Senate and 2 seats short of 2/3s of the State Assembly.

    A supermajority is required to pass a tax increase, so Democrats need 1 non-D State Senator and 2 non-D State Assemblymembers to join them, so until Democrats regain their supermajority status (and thus render Republican membership irrelevant), they’ll blame Republicans for “obstructing” legislation.

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