By The Bakersfield Californian
The Californian's Sept. 23 editorial, "No on 30: We've got a better option," states that Proposition 38 is preferred to Proposition 30. I would take the opposite position. Prop. 30 raises both sales tax and income tax, but the latter only on incomes of $250,000 or more. Since sales tax is regressive, it seems equitable that only the higher incomes be subject to the income tax increase.
Prop. 38 proposes to raise $10 billion through a small increase in the income tax and it will allocate 30 percent to pay off state bonded debt, indirectly freeing $3 billion for the general fund. The balance will be allocated to education. Sounds good except that first it commits the funds from this proposition to paying off the bonded debt. There's no leeway. We have seen the results of this sort of "fiscal commitment": budgets that must work around these "commitments" where we rob Peter to pay Paul so that we can meet these "legal" commitments.
And $10 billion in increased income tax is not a piddling amount. According to the Department of Finance, the 2012 budget is about $129 billion. Divide 10 by 129 and you have about an 8 percent increase, all from personal income tax. And this is a flat increase in the tax rate, if The Californian is correct. We have seen who pays proportionately more with this sort of increase.
If I felt I had another choice, I wouldn't vote for either. But 30, I believe, is the lesser of two evils. Let us get a legislature that does its job and save the initiative process for things that really need the voice of the people.