June 28 2002


Straight Talk on the Governor’s Budget

By Assemblymember Charlene Zettel

It seems to me that if Government does anything or the people of California, it should work to provide a balanced state budget that ensures the protection and safety of the citizens of the state. For all of us, family budgeting is a very basic principle that is practiced in every household. We budget because we care about our families’ security, future and quality of life. Unfortunately Governor Davis’ budget is a political gimmick that requires additional borrowing and more debt - jeopardizing our financial security, our futures and our quality of life.

The Governor’s budget proposed almost $4 billion in new taxes for additional government spending. One major impact is the Vehicle License Fee (VLF or car tax), which increased car registration taxes by nearly 130%. This means if you own a 4-door sedan and currently pay $100 for annual registration, under the Governor’s proposed budget you will pay approximately $230 next year! This will have a devastating impact on California’ working, low-income, and middle class families and senior citizens on fixed incomes.

Davis pledged he would “not advocate raising taxes.” Now faced with a $23.6 billion budget shortfall, the Governor has reneged and has called for significant tax increases such as the VLF. A proposed two-year suspension of businesses’ ability to deduct certain operating losses from their taxes is another ill-conceived idea. These tax increases will stifle the state’s economic recovery and hurt the average Californian while the state irresponsibly spends million more dollars.

Clearly, the Governor and fellow Democrats just don’t get it. To address this horrific deficit, the Assembly Democrats have proposed $636 million of new expenditures, continuing their spending spree at the expense of taxpayers. Meanwhile, Republicans have accepted the $5 billion in spending cuts proposed by the Legislative Analysis’s Office while Democrats have approved only $200 million of cuts.

I believe Californians already are taxed too heavily and I will oppose all efforts to raise taxes. Across the nation, many states are cutting taxes and providing economic stimulus packages to bring jobs to their state. These states are choosing the right path to economic recovery during this time of crisis!

It is easy to lead when times are good, but it takes true statesmanship to lead when times are tough. Davis’ failure to lead has caused an unprecedented fiscal train wreck. In contrast, when confronted with economic adversity in the 90’s, Governor Wilson provided strong and decisive leadership.

Solving a $23.6 billion budget deficit and dealing with a highly criticized energy policy is a politically painful experience for any Governor —especially during election time. However, Governor Davis chose to ignore important fiscal warnings. This decision will certainly impact Californians and their families now and for years to come. It’s time to reduce government spending and provide California a balanced budget—one that does not raise taxes.

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