By Donna Westfall – October 7, 2018
I am sure that most people are aware of the old shell game. Actually it’s not a game at all because the mark, that’s you, can never win, because it’s a swindle or a fraud. Just when you think you know the shell that the pea is under, you find out that it’s somewhere else.
It’s a lot like that with SB 1, the billions of dollars that is supposed to go for road repairs. Keep in mind that we already pay a significant amount of taxes at the gas pump for road maintenance, and don’t forget about the sky high vehicle registration fees that all car and truck owners already pay.
Now you are paying even more. But wait! If you remember your high school government class, the one thing they taught you was that you can’t be taxed without a vote. Well that was then. This is now. You never voted for SB 1. Because the legislature was owned by one political party with a two thirds majority, they could just mandate this tax, and that’s exactly what they did. Does that make you mad as hell yet? But wait, as Sup. Berkowitz always says, “It gets even worse.”
Here is what California’s Governor Brown had to say about taxes in 2010, “I’m not going to raise taxes unless the people say they want it through an initiative.” Well here is your governor who must have said it with his fingers crossed behind his back, because he signed SB 1 which raised your taxes without a vote of the people. But wait, it gets even worse.
in 2009 the governor found that there would be a shortfall in the budget, he simply redirected almost $2 billion of transportation funds to the general fund. That same year he reduced spending for our public schools by $14 billion dollars. Ah hah! $2 B+ $14 B = $16 BILLION.
He cut health and social services and the safety net for the disadvantaged by $5 billion. In other words, he stole money that would go to our kids education, money that would go to fix our roads and funds that would go to disadvantaged seniors on a fixed income, all to balance the budget. Remember in state speak, redirecting funds is the equivalent to theft, because the money almost never gets paid back. $16 B + $5 B = $21 BILLION.
Theft from the transportation budget got so bad that the public rose up in 2004 and passed Proposition 1A, which told the legislature that the public was fed up with this theft of transportation monies to fund the general budget and that they had to cease and desist.
With SB 1, the legislature realized that there was a $706 million dollar shortfall in the transportation budget due to the theft that went on in prior years, so they wanted to pay back that “loan.” SB 1 identified the amount of outstanding loans from certain transportation funds as $706,000,000. to pay back that loan. Here is the language they put in the bill ”require the Department of Finance to prepare a loan repayment schedule and would require the outstanding loans to be repaid pursuant to that schedule, as prescribed.
The bill would appropriate funds for that purpose from the Budget Stabilization Account. The bill would require the repaid funds to be transferred, pursuant to a specified formula, to various state and local transportation purposes.
In plain english, they will pay back the loan with your new taxes when they get around to it which may be… never!
Your YES vote for Proposition 6, ends this shell game. You can tell the legislature and governor that you refuse to pay for road repairs twice.
The other side will counter this argument by saying, “if you don’t continue with SB 1, how will our roads get fixes?” I would suggest that the legislature take the massive $16 billion surplus and apply that for road repairs, or take that bullet train San Francisco to LA, whose cost has mushroomed to $77 billion in cost overruns and apply that to solving our crumbling roads.
It’s time we all stood up and said that you can’t tax us without our permission and if you do, well, there was a little party they threw in Boston almost 250 years ago that was started by a few revolutionaries over the government’s attempt to tax its citizens without their permission.