Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Californians Cling To Easily Dispelled Tax Myths

From The New York Times:

Seems like only yesterday that I was at the Orange County fairgrounds to watch Arnold Schwarzenegger drop a wrecking ball on a car, symbolically crushing the auto tax to the delight of supporters who never asked how the governor-to-be might cover the lost revenue.

Since then, he's continued to put that wrecking ball to use, crushing one campaign promise after another.

But not until the governor signed on to raising taxes, including the car tax, did GOP leaders and good citizens get angry, vowing to go after not just Arnold but any Republican legislators who voted with him on a budget that includes the new revenues.

It didn't matter that state services of every type were threatened from Chico to Chula Vista, that the bus was headed for the cliff, that inmates were packing their bags for early release, or that firing every state employee wouldn't have balanced the budget without new revenue.

All that mattered were taxes.

"California has the highest taxes in the country," a reader named Mary wrote to me.

"I guess it's our patriotic duty, as residents of California, to pay the highest taxes (or close to it) in the country, for the most incompetent government in any state," wrote Art.

Most incompetent government? We're probably in the running, but two other states I've lived in were at least as screwed up, with Pennsylvania actually taking pride in its monumental incompetence.

As for the claim that Californians pay the highest taxes of any state or close to it, I'm sorry to disappoint, given the great joy so many people seem to derive from hyperventilating.

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