Posts Tagged ‘California’

I’m sure some liberal is going to say that I’m an tax-cut loving Republican without even reading this blog in its entirety or weighing my argument against his/her already set way of thinking about taxes…

Without getting to abstract… I really have been asking myself: What is the purpose of taxation on consumption?

To answer that, I first need to examine some existing taxes:

Taxes on the sale of gasoline make sense. We have public roads. The tax (in theory) should help cover the development and maintenance of those public roads. This seems like a logical. Short of making all the roads toll roads (which is riddled with all sorts of other problems that I’m not going to dive into on this blog), taxation on the consumption of gasoline for the purposes of paying for public roads makes sense.

Property taxes make sense as well. You own property and reap the many rewards of utilities, police, etc. You might be saying, “Wait! I also pay for my utilities.” That may be true, but those utilities are utilizing government property (e.g. land) to transport those utilities. The real issue at hand here is that as a property owner you are using government property that it could otherwise utilize. Hence, property taxes. This tax makes sense.

Sales Taxes… In the two examples above, you are utilizing government property to your benefit. However, in the case of sales tax on a car, tv, laptop, or any other product that a company produces with its own resources, sales tax doesn’t make sense. One can argue that the companies produce products using government property, but that argument is abundantly weak at best. The reality is that sales tax has no purpose other than that the governments found them to be a simple way to tax (and easily increase taxes).

I’m not going to argue that sales tax revenue isn’t used for government services that may be useful. What I’m arguing is that sales taxes have no solid foundation and, more importantly, greatly stifle economic development. In many counties in California, the sales tax is at or above 10% This means that all taxable sales are 10% higher than they really need to be. This means that we as consumers must pay an additional 10% over what the product actual costs us.

We aren’t talking about pennies here! Purchase a $20,000 automobile and it very quickly becomes $22,000. That’s an additional 10% that you have to pay for what? What are you getting for that 10%??? More importantly, what would you do if you didn’t have to pay that additional 10%? Certainly, not everything that we purchase has sales tax on it, but try holding onto your receipts for a year. Add up all the sales tax… That’s a lot of money! What could you have done with that money?

What if you took that extra 10% and put it into a savings account? What if you used the 10% to payoff your mortgage faster? What if you could put that 10% into a college tuition fund for your children? What if you could put that 10% into a fund for your health care later on in life? What if you could put that 10% into a retirement fund? That 10% is going to add up to be quite a bit of money very quickly.

Every sales tax you pay prevents you from spending or saving that much more money. The banks have less money in their reserves (theoretically leading to lower lending abilities) because the government is taxing you 10% Companies have less revenue because the government is taxing you 10% The only entity with more from the 10% taxation is the government.

To be fair, governments do provide jobs to people. However, governments are largely inefficient, and it’s hardly a good idea to count on the government to create jobs with that 10% when there are plenty of private companies that will do much better with creating jobs, innovative new products, and technological breakthroughs with that 10% Governments would be far better off not taking the 10% from their constituents and visitors and coming up with another method to gain tax revenue. I’ll save that topic for another blog.

In short, a sales tax is nothing more than punishing consumers and businesses for doing business.

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I chimed in last week about what I thought about the ballot measures on this year’s ballot. Taking at look at the results coming in from the CA SOS

Proposition 19 – 56.9% NO – You put your weeeed in it… Doesn’t look like this is even going to get close to passing. 43% is about 7 joints short of legalizing Marijuana in California. Looks like we’ll have to find something else to tax the hell out of to balance the budget!

Proposition 20 – 65.5% YES – This is a slam dunk. Not a slam dunk like finding WMD in Iraq but a real slam dunk!

Proposition 21 – 61.3% NO – I’m sure nobody wanted to pony up the extra 18 bucks, but really this shouldn’t have passed. It’s a half-assed bill… Literally! Half the existing funds would be evaporated to go waste on something else our state deems necessary (but probably most of us don’t).

Proposition 22 – 64.3% YES – Another slap in the face to the State of California’s overspending and raping of our local resources. Now they’ll have to find somewhere else to steal the money from our pockets, and it’s going to be tough looking at how 26 is doing!

Proposition 23 – 57.4% NO – This isn’t going to pass. It was the CA ballot IQ test. If you really think repealing some air pollution laws are going to get unemployment down to 5 percent…

Proposition 24 – 61.4% NO – I’m quite surprised this one isn’t going to pass, but it looks like us CA business folk get to keep some tax breaks…

Proposition 25 – 53% YES – Looks like this one is going to pass, and that is extremely scary! Budgets should be achieved through compromise, not by the whim of whomever holds the majority of the seats in our State Congress. This could spell disaster for the state budget as the ruling party will get to spend however they want while taxes still require compromise. When you really look at the tax vs. spend issues, it’s the spending that is the biggest problem, not the taxes. Government spend themselves into a hole, and this passage will just make the hole easier and bigger!

Proposition 26 – 56.4% YES – It’s funny that a ballot measure that requires 2/3 majority vote isn’t going to receive 2/3 of the votes, but this puppy is going to pass.

Proposition 27 – 61.3% NO – Clearly, Californians don’t have a sense of humor when it comes to ballot measures. Proposition 20 and 27 should have passed, making it the most hilarious combo of propositions. Oh well…

It’s that time again! Time to head to the polls and vote for Congress members, Senators, City Council, etc. And in California, we hit the polls for the largest exercise in democracy in the world: California Propositions! Here are my takes on each of the Propositions open for voting this Tuesday…

Proposition 19 – The weed ballot. They are even making this section of the ballot out of hemp paper! I’ve heard all kinds of stories from both sides on this. I even heard a commercial against proposition 19 that states that an employee could get stoned off his ass every day but a company couldn’t do anything about it unless they ran over someone with a forklift. Well, those weren’t the exact words, but it was pretty much along those lines.

The problem with the logic in most of the anti-19 campaigning is that it assumes that California will suddenly become 30 million potheads overnight and that this law would give weed smokers diplomatic immunity. Neither of those are going to take place, and I guarantee you that if someone shows up stoned to work, a company will have every right to reprimand (including fire) that employee just as if the employee showed up drunk! The valid argument is the lost federal funding that California will suffer *IF* the Federal government withholds grants, education funding etc. However, there is a very simple solution to that. Don’t give the federal government their share of the taxes they put on *OUR* gasoline we use in California. If they want the tax, they can come invade us and take it.

I’m not suggesting the above because I support proposition 19. However, I am most certainly supporting the free will of the states over our federal government. Certainly, we need a strong central government, but if the federal government wants to pick and choose who it gives funding too because a state’s population does something it doesn’t like, that’s nothing short of tyranny.

Proposition 20 – A panel redistricts instead of politicians. Allowing politicians to redistrict themselves is like asking a class of kindergartners to define how much recess time they want instead of classroom time.

Proposition 21 – More taxes disguised as “helping the environment” and state park funding. My favorite part of this prop is that it will raise $500 million/year but will only bring another $250 million to the state parks. That’s because the other $250 million will be siphoned away from the state parks and wasted on something else. Here’s what I’d support: the tax with the state parks still receiving the same funding they receive right now. This way, our politicians would have to come up with some other way to scam money out of our pockets. What a shame this proposition is!

Proposition 22 – The Robbing Peter to Pay Paul Proposition. Local taxes and taxes we pay on gasoline have been stolen for years to pay for items other than what they are supposed to pay for. Of course, having done so for so long, there are so many organizations that live off these funds they weren’t supposed to be getting paid from in the first place. What this proposition boils down to is sealing the gap of a taxation windfall for our state government. They need more money? Easy! Just increase the gasoline tax… Can’t get a bill passed to increase taxes somewhere else? No problem! Just increase the gasoline tax… Well, this prop will hold tax spenders (let’s just call them what they are!) accountable for their taxes.

I’m willing to bet lunch at Tomato Joe’s Pizza that our gas taxes more than cover the amount of work we need on our roads! Ultimately, this prop could lead to lower gas prices because I’m willing to bet we are overpaying gas taxes because those funds are being used for so many other things that otherwise wouldn’t have funding to save their lives. Our current policies are like supporting the loser brother because he’s part of the trust fund. This proposition is the closest we’re going to get to “opt-out” taxes.

Proposition 23 – Someone’s blowing smoke up our asses… Is clean air regulation really costing California 1 million jobs? Would the recession suddenly end if these regulations no longer existed? Is anyone really stupid enough to believe that? I suppose we’ll find out when the votes are cast for this proposition…

Proposition 24 – This is a taxing pissing match. However, let’s just look at the latest business news that shows rising profits by several large businesses while unemployment remains high. That’s not to say that I don’t support business tax incentives. However, the ones we have in place clearly are not promoting job creation. I could write for ages on the types of business tax credits that will stimulate job creation, but that’s for another blog at another time…

Proposition 25 – The Fiscal Irresponsibility Proposition – This is the Congressional equivalent to cutting off your nose to spite your face. Having a 1/2 vote for the budget is dangerous. It means that whatever political party rules with a majority will have their way with our budget. I’m not a big fan of this. They cloak the dangers of this budgeting by keeping the 2/3 majority for increased taxes and the income penalty to members of the state Congress. However, taxing is only one side of the coin. The more important side of the coin is spending. A government can easily overspend! Just look at our current Federal government. A government can easily overtax as well, but the ramifications of overtaxes are far less dangerous than overspending.

Proposition 26 – Written Behind Closed Doors LOL ROFLMAO!!! The anti-26 campaign has just been hilarious! I can’t stop laughing when I hear the ads on the radio talking about how this prop was drafted to big-oil because they want us to pay for oil spills. I’m still trying to figure out how that was deciphered from the actual language of the proposition. This prop seems pretty straight forward. Taxation by any other name is still a taxation.

Proposition 27 – So funny that this is on the same ballot as Prop 20! This is like watching two guys argue in downtown… Hilarious!!!

I have news for people who voted Yes on Proposition 8. The California Constitutional amendment is invalid. Here’s why:

in 1959, California ratified the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution. Article 1 states:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges (emphasis added) or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

California’s Constitution does allow for amending our Constitution with a simple majority vote. However, it also requires that when two amendments conflict with each other that the amendment with the higher vote wins out over the amendment with the lower vote. Since Proposition 8 passed with only 52.4% it becomes invalid.

I highlighted privileges above because a lot of people seem to be talking about “rights”. In fact, the title of Proposition was listed as “Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry”. However, the 14th Amendment extends FAR beyond mere rights to all privileges. Whether marriage is a right or not is of no consequence. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States. Proposition 8 is invalid.

A few interesting things have come up in the discussion taking place on my blog about the California Proposition Results for 2008. Lila posted information about California Health and Safety Code 123450, and there are plenty of sources that point to the fact that the Supreme Court of California has ruled that minors in California have a right to health privacy, even from their parents.

First, I agree that people should be afforded a certain level of privacy, even minors. However, I see some very serious problems with this ruling about minor medical privacy. Not because of abortion rights but because of health concerns. Parents have a legal obligation to protect and provide for their children. Isn’t health and medical information important for a parent to provide for their child?

Second, how can a minor not consent to legal contracts but consent to medical services? A minor cannot get married, join the army, sign a contract at a gym, register to vote, sign credit applications, and a myriad of other contractual activities. However, a minor can walk in and get any medical service without parental consent? A minor can’t even purchase cigarettes, alcohol, or nyquil, but they can get any prescription from a doctor without parental consent?

Here is a scenario running through my head:

A son is injured badly in a car accident and the parents arrive at the hospital only to discover they are not allowed to know any information about their son’s well being. A little ridiculous, I know.

Or how about this one:

A daughter goes to a doctor and acquires birth control pills without parental consent and those birth control pills give her an ovarian cyst (not uncommon for many women on birth control).

Or maybe this one:

A son contracts tuberculosis while traveling abroad over the summer for a summer camp. A doctor provides treatment but the parents don’t have rights to that medical information. Tuberculosis is highly contagious and DEADLY (especially for the young and elderly).

In either of these cases, it seems logical that the parents should have a right to know medical information about their child, right?

So why did I vote no on Proposition 4? Proposition 4 was a ballot measure that put the decision making process of abortion into the hands of judges and creates more government were more government is not needed. We don’t need government mandating child-parent communication. Proposition 4 was also focused only on abortion. The issue should not be abortion. It should be parental rights to information that allows them to provide for and protect the wellbeing of their family.

What I would support is a Parent-Child Medical Rights Proposition. Not to make it a requirement for doctors to notify parents of medical treatments they are providing their children. Rather give parents the right to view their child’s medical records upon request AND sue doctors who have performed medical treatments where the parent had not given consent.

If a doctor wants to prescribe medication to a minor without notifying the parents, they can do that. But they should be open to malpractice lawsuits for providing medical services to a citizen who cannot enter into contractual agreements without parental/guardian consent.

Now, people will say what about the abusive parents scenario? Certainly, this is a major issue. Anyone (not just doctors) who becomes aware of abuse taking place against a child by their parents/family has an obligation to report it to law enforcement. If a doctor suspects (or a minor reports) abuse, law enforcement should be notified immediately.

I love WordPress! I particularly love getting picked up as a hawt post and watching the discussion take place. The debate. Everyone has two cents, and despite the $700 billion bailout of the banking industry, those two cents are worth something. I might not agree with certain people, but I’m glad to have this virtual conversation going on about these important issues for the state of California.

Speaking of democracy… Proposition 11 has passed, paving the way for California to be a state that implements legitimate voting districts that will hold politicians accountable to the people they truly represent!

Hawt Post and Parmesan

At the time of this writing, 95.7% of the precincts were reporting results. The latest results can always be found on the Secretary of State’s website.

Since I’m writing this blog on a train, I’m glad to see that it looks like Proposition 1 is going to pass. The next big question should be whether the 47% who voted against Proposition 1 should be allowed to ride the train when it is built. I’m just kidding of course. Democracy affords the benefits of the majority to the minority. Just look at the $700 billion bailout. The majority of the population bailed out the minority of the banks that gambled with our money.

Proposition 2 passed with an incredible 63% Yes vote. The rooster crows in the morning were a little bit more jubilant than yesterday morning 😛 and you can hear cows talking along the I-5, heading to Central California.

Proposition 3 surprisingly passed, giving children’s hospitals more funds even though they had funds left over from the last time we put them on the ballot. Kids and animals are always worthy causes, but I’m not sure we really needed to cough up this money this year.

Proposition 4 went down in flames YET AGAIN. This garbage has been on the ballot for the last several elections. Somehow, it keeps coming back. Perhaps if we completely say NO to government dictation of birth for minors with a resounding 80% NO, we won’t have to keep voting on the same junk every time.

Proposition 5, 6, and 7 all went down in flames, losing soundly. What I thought was funny about the Proposition 6 is that all the cronnies on the TV kept talking about how they were surprised by lack of support for this bill. I only have one word: hearsay.

Proposition 8, the ban on gay marriage is passing by a sound margain. 52.1% Yes on 8 is a very strong win. The total vote margin is more than 400,000.

Proposition 9 passed by a sound margin. Should people who voted no on this proposition not be notified when a perpetrator of a crime against them is released from prison?

Proposition 10 was so soundly defeated that we got to stand up here in California and say, don’t give us garbage incentives that aren’t going to make a damn bit of difference.

Proposition 11 may or may not pass at this point. This is an incredibly close ballot measure. The margin is less than 100,000 votes, so it could easily go either way. Hopefully Californians will vote in favor of democracy as opposed to a fictitious democracy that allows the people who get elected decide who ends up electing them. C’mon folks! This should have been a no-brainer.

Proposition 12 has ensured our veterans that they will have the funds needed to help make a difference in their lives.

Proposition 12: This bill would enact the Veterans’ Bond Act of 2008 which, if approved, would authorize, for purposes of financing a specified program for farm, home, and mobilehome purchase assistance for veterans, the issuance, pursuant to the State General Obligation Bond Law, of bonds in the amount of $900,000,000.

My Take

This should be an obvious yes, but in case you weren’t sure… Our Veterans repay every single penny (with interest) that we loan them through bills like this. Unlike scumbag banks that have stolen money from you, screwed you over with Wall Street pranks, and then used the scum of the Earth Paulson to steal even more money from you in the way of an “investment in America”, our Veterans actually pay us back what we lend them.

Proposition 11: Creates 14-member redistricting commission responsible for drawing new district lines for State Senate, Assembly, and Board of Equalization districts. Requires State Auditor to randomly select commission members from voter applicantpool to create a commission with five members from each of the two largest political parties, and four members unaffiliated with either political party. Requires nine votes to approve final district maps. Establishes standards for drawing new lines, including respecting the geographic integrity of neighborhoods and encouraging geographic compactness. Permits State Legislature to draw lines for congressional districts subject to these standards.

My Take

About time!!! Redistricting has taken place in California to ensure that incumbents stay in office. It is the most absurd garbage to take place in government and erodes the value of democracy. It is also part of why we are in the mess we are in right now. Our Congress is failing us because we’ve allowed them to remap themselves to keep idiots in office. This will help solve that problem.

Proposition 10: Authorizes $5 billion in bonds paid from state’s General Fund, allocated approximately as follows: 58% in cash payments of between $2,000 and $50,000 to purchasers of certain high fuel economy and alternative fuel vehicles; 20% in incentives for research, development and production of renewable energy technology; 11% in incentives for research and development of alternative fuel vehicle technology; 5% in incentives for purchase of renewable energy technology; 4% in grants to eight cities for education about these technologies; and 3% in grants to colleges to train students in these technologies. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: State costs of about $9.8 billion over 30 years to pay both the principal ($5 billion) and interest ($4.8 billion) costs on the bond. Payments of about $325 million per year. Increase in state sales tax revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to beyond 2018. Increase in local sales tax and VLF revenues of an unknown amount, potentially totaling in the tens of millions of dollars, over the period from 2009 to about 2018-19.

My Take

Waste, waste, waste of money!!! There are much better incentives to develop better technology and give people a greater incentive to purchase high fuel economy vehicles.