How Proposition 13 destroyed California.

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
28,561
4
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/08599190493800

California's Fiscal Crisis: The Legacy of Proposition 13

The financial crisis in California grew worse this week as State Controller John Chiang warned that if legislators and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fail to come up with a budget-balancing package, he would begin paying California's bills with IOUs on July 2. The last time the state did this was during the Great Depression.


What has brought California to such a perilous state? How did its government become so wildly dysfunctional? One obvious cause is the deep recession that has caused tax revenues to plunge for all states. But California's woes have a set of deeper reasons: direct democracy run amok, timid governors, partisan gridlock and a flawed constitution all contribute to budget chaos and people in pain. And at the root of California's misery lies Proposition 13, the antitax measure that ignited the Reagan Revolution and the conservative era. In Washington, the Reagan-Bush era is over. But in California, the conservative legacy lives on. (Read TIME's report: Can the U.S. Afford to Let California Fail?)


Before Prop 13, in the 1950s and '60s, California was a liberal showcase. Governors Earl Warren and Pat Brown responded to the population growth of the postwar boom with a massive program of public infrastructure - the nation's finest public college system, the freeway system and the state aqueduct that carries water from the well-watered north to the parched south. When Ronald Reagan was governor he actually raised taxes. Then Proposition 13 shot the tires out of Pat Brown's liberal state. Liberal legislative leaders such as Willie Brown and John Burton jerry-rigged repairs and kept the damaged vehicle running for 30 years. Now Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger says there is no choice but to complete the demolition by slashing essential services. (TIME's Joel Stein weighs in on California's state of insanity)


Proposition 13 was the brainchild of the late Howard Jarvis. The antitax crusader was a policy genius not unlike Franklin D. Roosevelt. Both shared an affinity for designing deep structural change that, once embedded in the political system, is nearly impossible to alter without a massive change of heart by voters. Social Security is the lasting legacy of the New Deal era because F.D.R. understood that workers who contribute payroll-tax deductions from their paychecks would not want politicians tinkering with their retirement dollars. Conservatives have mounted assaults on Social Security through the years but to no avail.


Jarvis created a similarly impregnable institution. When he rode the wave of anger over skyrocketing property-tax assessments to pass Proposition 13 in 1978, he included a two-thirds vote requirement for the passage of any new taxes in California - an insurmountable obstacle built on populist allergy to any kind of new levy. Beholden to a tax-averse electorate, the state's liberals and moderates have attempted to live with Proposition 13 while continuing to provide the state services Californians expect - freeways, higher education, locking up felons, assisting needy families and, very importantly, essential funding to local government and school districts that vanished after the antitax measure passed.


Now, however, that balancing act no longer seems possible. In the state's current fiscal crisis, California's public schools stand to lose $5.3 billion on top of $7.4 billion in cuts last year. Superintendents and school boards foresee teacher layoffs, increased class sizes, the loss of computer labs and libraries and, in some districts, insolvency. Superintendent Ramon Cortines says the Los Angeles Unified School District will lay off more than 2,500 teachers.





This is what I have always said. Basically the conservative, anti-tax Republicans cut taxes, than blame budget shortfalls on spending.
The real culprit was wacky, radical Republican anti-tax demagogues.
 

Patranus

Diamond Member
Apr 15, 2007
9,280
0
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Try again. Out of control spending and high taxes. It is the DEMOCRATS in California who cut schools above their other pet programs. They could cut so many other programs before schools but like to make the Republicans look like the bad guys and say "look look look the big bad Republicans are hurting the children". The sad thing is that the people of California are too stupid to figure it out and the dance continues.
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,399
3,947
126
Originally posted by: Patranus
Try again. Out of control spending and high taxes. It is the DEMOCRATS in California who cut schools above their other pet programs. They could cut so many other programs before schools but like to make the Republicans look like the bad guys and say "look look look the big bad Republicans are hurting the children". The sad thing is that the people of California are too stupid to figure it out and the dance continues.

examples please? I'm truly interested.
 

miketheidiot

Lifer
Sep 3, 2004
11,062
1
0
Originally posted by: Patranus
Try again. Out of control spending and high taxes. It is the DEMOCRATS in California who cut schools above their other pet programs. They could cut so many other programs before schools but like to make the Republicans look like the bad guys and say "look look look the big bad Republicans are hurting the children". The sad thing is that the people of California are too stupid to figure it out and the dance continues.

are you saying its the democrats fault they can't get the revenue to fund the system?
 

0marTheZealot

Golden Member
Apr 5, 2004
1,692
0
0
California's system is basically the system for the entire US. We enact all these extra programs but we don't want to pay for them. Obviously, something has to give, and that something is probably foreign countries refusing to buy our debt in the future. Until then, we'll continue to act irresponsibly.

Republicans, Democrats, it doesn't matter. Neither party has shown that they will actually cut spending or raise revenue when they are in power. Repubs bitch and moan today, but it was just a year ago that they were deficit-spending like the Rapture was coming the next day.
 

Woofmeister

Golden Member
Jul 18, 2004
1,384
0
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Dude, Proposition 13 was passed thirty-one years ago. And Prop. 13 notwithstanding, California still has the tenth highest property tax rates in the Country. In addition, with the exception of Hawaii, California has the highest marginal income tax rates in the Country and the highest sales tax rate in the Country.

You can say much about the citizens of the Golden State, but one thing you surely cannot say is that they are undertaxed.
 

Hacp

Lifer
Jun 8, 2005
13,923
2
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What about cutting free healthcare for illegals? Or cutting all the welfare that California hands out? Or cutting union salaries? Totally unfeasible right?
 

smack Down

Diamond Member
Sep 10, 2005
4,507
0
0
Originally posted by: Woofmeister
Dude, Proposition 13 was passed thirty-one years ago. And Prop. 13 notwithstanding, California still has the tenth highest property tax rates in the Country. In addition, with the exception of Hawaii, California has the highest marginal income tax rates in the Country and the highest sales tax rate in the Country.

You can say much about the citizens of the Golden State, but one thing you surely cannot say is that they are undertaxed.

You fail at reading your own table.

CA is ranked 45 in tax rate with a tax of 0.48%
 

sandorski

No Lifer
Oct 10, 1999
70,101
5,640
126
If Direct Democracy wouldn't keep requiring Government to Spend more, then this Prop might actually work well. You probably have to end the whole Proposition process before that can be fixed. This Prop 13 is just a bad idea no matter how you slice it though. Any kind of rigid budgeting Law should be avoided like the plague. Sometimes circumstances demand drastic measures.
 

dyna

Senior member
Oct 20, 2006
813
61
91
California needs to tax higher, its what the government wants therefore residents should want it also. The government knows best.
 

techs

Lifer
Sep 26, 2000
28,561
4
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Originally posted by: smack Down
Originally posted by: Woofmeister
Dude, Proposition 13 was passed thirty-one years ago. And Prop. 13 notwithstanding, California still has the tenth highest property tax rates in the Country. In addition, with the exception of Hawaii, California has the highest marginal income tax rates in the Country and the highest sales tax rate in the Country.

You can say much about the citizens of the Golden State, but one thing you surely cannot say is that they are undertaxed.

You fail at reading your own table.

CA is ranked 45 in tax rate with a tax of 0.48%
You live up to your name of smack Down with that.
Yeah, people in the 'low tax' state of New Hampshire pay over 3.5 times the property tax as they do in California. Even the people in KANSAS pay over 2.5 times the property tax as they do in California.
Property tax is one of the VERY few taxes the rich can't avoid paying. Which is why some billionaire (warren buffet?) commented he paid LESS tax on his ten million dollar home in California than his secretary paid on her house in New York.
So the rich have saved hundreds of billions of taxes over the years in California.
More than enough to straigten out Californias problems.
Its just the radical right wing conservatives sabotaged California.
 

XZeroII

Lifer
Jun 30, 2001
12,572
0
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Nice attempt to blame republicans for all of the problems in CA. It's pretty compelling until you realize that there is no single reason for why anything happens. Maybe simple minds would just accept the explanation you provided, but anyone who digs below the surface will find hundereds of other contributing factors that are caused by BOTH democrats and republicans.

But who cares about that, right? Your only goal is to stir up FUD so I guess you're succeeding. Good job.
 

Firebot

Golden Member
Jul 10, 2005
1,476
2
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I had no idea what proposition 13 was, but P&N is such a great place. All I have to do is read the OP's name, and I knew for sure it would be something that could be blamed on Republicans. Sure enough it was the case.

Why are most P&N posters such partisan sheep?
 

TruePaige

Diamond Member
Oct 22, 2006
9,878
2
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Originally posted by: Firebot
I had no idea what proposition 13 was, but P&N is such a great place. All I have to do is read the OP's name, and I knew for sure it would be something that could be blamed on Republicans. Sure enough it was the case.

Why are most P&N posters such partisan sheep?

Who knows. =/
 

Rockinacoustic

Platinum Member
Aug 19, 2006
2,460
0
76
Originally posted by: Firebot
I had no idea what proposition 13 was, but P&N is such a great place. All I have to do is read the OP's name, and I knew for sure it would be something that could be blamed on Republicans. Sure enough it was the case.

Why are most P&N posters such partisan sheep?

We try our best to be armchair politicians ;)
 

JSt0rm

Lifer
Sep 5, 2000
27,399
3,947
126
Originally posted by: Firebot
I had no idea what proposition 13 was, but P&N is such a great place. All I have to do is read the OP's name, and I knew for sure it would be something that could be blamed on Republicans. Sure enough it was the case.

Why are most P&N posters such partisan sheep?

what about the followups that blamed the dems? :confused: This place is all over the map but the initial thought that prop 13 is a problem deserves debate at least.
 

Firebot

Golden Member
Jul 10, 2005
1,476
2
0
Originally posted by: JSt0rm01
Originally posted by: Firebot
I had no idea what proposition 13 was, but P&N is such a great place. All I have to do is read the OP's name, and I knew for sure it would be something that could be blamed on Republicans. Sure enough it was the case.

Why are most P&N posters such partisan sheep?

what about the followups that blamed the dems? :confused: This place is all over the map but the initial thought that prop 13 is a problem deserves debate at least.

It's hard to debate when its obvious the OP posted this with partisan bias. A thread like this would be more open to debate say if someone like ProfJohn with a known republican bias were to post about proposition 13, but no one seems to post threads which aren't for their own political benefit. It's natural that a biased thread should attract partisan attacks when the OP is an attack in itself.

Originally posted by: techs
This is what I have always said. Basically the conservative, anti-tax Republicans cut taxes, than blame budget shortfalls on spending.
The real culprit was wacky, radical Republican anti-tax demagogues.

Yeah, lots of debate worthy comments there:roll:
 

nullzero

Senior member
Jan 15, 2005
670
0
0
This article is so biased is sickening. Actually prop 13 saved the state... could you imagine if it never passed and property taxes went to the 2-7% range (Imagine what that would do to California's taxes with the real estate collapse). Or how about a cycle of increasing spending and taxes till it got to the point of not being viable anymore and the economy collapsing or being depressed by taxes.

Higher taxes at this point in CA will yield lower tax revenue because we are suffering from so much economic pain. I already know many people now that refuse to buy big ticket items in the state of CA because of the high sales tax.
 

marvdmartian

Diamond Member
Apr 12, 2002
5,549
19
81
I lived (was stationed) in California during the 80's. If I remember correctly, during that time, they started up the scratch off ticket lottery and the lotto, both of which brought big bucks into state coffers. One of the promises made, when they wanted the voters to approve the lotto, was that 1/2 of all profit the state pulled in would go to fund schools. Guess what the politicians did? Took the money promised from the lotto and put it into the schools, but then took an equivalent amount that had been coming from the general fund, and put it to work somewhere else.

Guess what happened when the lotto didn't do so well?? Yeah, schools suffered, because that money that had been there from the general fund wasn't available anymore. In the early 90's, the politicians passed a new gas tax, 5cents the first year, a penny per year for 5 years after that (for a total of 10cents added after 6 years), solely for the purpose of funding schools, to make up for the shortfall caused by their own short-sightedness.

Also, after the 1988 earthquake in the LA area, followed by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in the Bay Area, the California government added a 25cent tax onto gasoline, to help pay for all the highway repairs needed after those earthquakes. They promised that the tax would go away after the cost of the highway repairs was covered.

How much you want to bet that that tax, passed 20 years ago, has never been repealed??


Bottom line, California politicians are great at promising all sorts of programs, but they suck at finding new ways to pay for them. It's time they grow up, pass the taxes that are required to keep the state running in a fiscally responsible fashion, and then suck it up come election time. If they're lucky, the voters will realize it was necessary, and they won't lose their jobs. If not, oh well, that's part of life.
 

Double Trouble

Elite Member
Oct 9, 1999
9,272
103
106
More of the usual biased drivel. Prop 13 doesn't affect spending does it? No? Well, that solves the issue then. Keep spending down to the level of income, and ... gasp ... there would be no budget shortfall. What a concept, don't spend more than you bring in! Halt the presses, it's revolutionary! ;)

There's plenty of waste to be trimmed, plenty of needless programs to be cut before they even need to consider raising income.