Advocates for higher taxes in California have plans for 2016 that include a wide variety of ways to siphon funds from California voters. Tax hikers are preparing prospective initiatives that would include making Proposition 30 taxes permanent, instituting a property tax increase on commercial property, taxing oil drilled in the state, and a hike in taxes on cigarettes.
Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, who was just reelected, has joined other state officials in calling for the permanence of Prop 30 taxes, which are about to expire, while public employee unions are eager for taxes on property, cigarettes, and oil to be raised.
Joel Fox, president of the Small Business Action Committee and co-publisher and editor of FoxandHoundsDaily.com, writes in The Sacramento Bee that the tax advocates are certain to pursue their goals for two reasons: voters would support their efforts because they will think it’s someone else’s money, and 2016, as a presidential election year, will draw much higher turnout than 2014. Fox believes that if proponents of Prop 30 waive the part dealing with the sales tax, the hike might succeed in becoming permanent.
Fox also points out that the push for various initiatives will strengthen because the Democrats lost their two-thirds majority in the Legislature and can no longer pass bills with impunity. This forces tax hike advocates to prepare their measures far ahead of the 2016 elections.
Governor Jerry Brown has already gone on record opposing an extension of Proposition 30. Last May, Brown said, “That’s a temporary tax and, to the extent that I have anything to do with it, will remain temporary.” But GOP leaders point out that in September, Brown refused to say whether he would keep his 2010 promise not to raise taxes without a public vote.
Brown has said he would oppose any attempt to amend Proposition 13, but his opposition could be a catalyst for more action by tax advocates since Proposition 30 expires in 2018, and fewer voters will go to the polls then.