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Raising sales taxes hurts all of us

Union Tribune (2008-08-29) Joel Anderson

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Raising sales taxes hurts all of us

By Joel Anderson
August 29, 2008

As a father of three, I know how expensive it can be to get kids ready to go back to school. Right now, families throughout the state are shopping for school supplies, back-to-school clothes and food for sack lunches. Unfortunately, all of us are going to have to pay a lot more for school supplies and nearly everything else we buy if the state sales tax is increased.

Recently, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger abandoned his opposition to tax increases and proposed an increase in the sales tax to close the state budget gap. Instead of solving our budget problems, I believe the governor's sales tax increase proposal would hurt San Diego's hard-working families, further devastate California's economy and allow the state to continue wasting our hard-earned tax dollars.

The governor is attempting to sell his tax increase by calling it “temporary.” I assume he believes that it will make taxpayers more accepting of government bureaucrats taking more of their money. Don't be fooled.

Tax increases are anything but temporary. To demonstrate the folly of such a claim, we only need to look at the “temporary” tax imposed by the U.S. Congress in 1898 to pay for the Spanish-American War. It was ultimately rescinded 108 years later, hardly anyone's definition of a short time period.

If the governor gets his tax increase, how can we be sure that it will be rescinded in three years? We can't hold the governor to account because he will be out of office by then, so there's little to give us taxpayers comfort. Instead, we can be certain that special-interest groups who benefit from increased government spending will lobby to ensure they still get their money by making the tax increase permanent. With the revenue already spent by then, these groups and their allies in the Legislature will bemoan the “cuts” they will face unless we raise taxes yet again.

Make no mistake – raising the state sales tax would hurt San Diego families who are already struggling to make ends meet. With food and gas prices at exceptionally high levels, home values going down and mortgage payments going up, it doesn't take an economist to figure out that forcing families to pay more for what they buy would stretch their budgets even further.

Faced with higher prices, most California families will choose to spend less by cutting back on nonessential spending such as dining out, going to the movies or taking a day trip to any of San Diego's world-class attractions. With less consumer spending, many businesses in our region would take a financial hit, forcing some to either cut back on hours, lay off employees or even shut down entirely. This is the last thing we need at a time when our economy is struggling to get back on its feet.

It's simply wrong to punish hard-working families and small businesses for the years of overspending by Sacramento. With government spending increasing by more than 30 percent over the last four years, it's clear that the Legislature has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

There's a better way to solve California's budget problems without raising taxes. My Assembly Republican colleagues and I have proposed several reforms that would end the budget madness once and for all. Most important, we are fighting for a strict limit on state spending and the creation of a “rainy-day” fund. By imposing a spending limit and a rainy-day fund we can force the Legislature to live within its means and save money during good economic times to be used during tough budget times.

Additionally, to jump-start California's economic recovery, we have also proposed a number of reforms that would cut bureaucratic red tape and encourage businesses to invest here, rather than fleeing to neighboring states or countries.

We can solve this budget crisis without raising taxes. By prioritizing state spending, implementing common-sense reforms and only spending what we have, we can craft a state budget the people of California deserve.

As the budget debate continues, I will stand firm in protecting San Diego taxpayers from costly tax increases. I hope the governor and my colleagues will realize that raising the state sales tax would do nothing but hurt our region and our families.

Anderson, R-El Cajon, represents the 77th Assembly District in the Legislature.

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Title Raising sales taxes hurts all of us
Publisher Union Tribune
Author Joel Anderson
Pub Date 2008-08-29
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Note Anderson misses the fact that taxes to not leave the economy, but actually help it if spent correctly.
Keywords Local Politics
Media Type Linked Article
Curator Rating Plain
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Topic revision: r2 - 17 Nov 2008, RaymondLutz
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