Tax Increase = Bullet Train Funding
Ready for a tax fight?
Appended to Katy Grimes’ story, “2012 Voters Face Tax Increases Galore,” is a new comment by Richard Rider, the great San Diego tax fighter:
One strong argument we tax fighters will make against all the many CA statewide tax increases is that each is “a High Speed Rail tax.” Brown has made clear that he wants to go ahead with this HSR madness, regardless of facts. IF voters approve the tax, he and the other HSR folks will continue down this track.
Stated differently, if the voters do NOT approve these tax increases, there simply is no way for the HSR train to depart the station. More pressing needs preclude the state spending more money on HSR.
Unfortunately (for our tax fighting efforts), I suspect the Big Spenders will recognize that they’ll have to defend HSR in in the upcoming tax campaign, and that’s a sure loser. So I am pretty confident that the Governor will “suspend” further funding of HSR.
Unstated is the fact that if the tax passes, they Governor and crew will “revisit” this suspension. And we all know how that would go.
Rider then references a column by Daren Borenstein. Here’s part of it:
Building the California high-speed rail system won’t be a free ride. It will require spending money that could otherwise fund education and health care.
Perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of bond financing is that it’s a loan. It must be paid back. When the state borrows, the repayment usually comes from the general fund. While the legislative analyst warns that balancing the state budget in coming years presents daunting fiscal challenges, high-speed rail advocates want us to take on more obligations.
Think about it: If you were struggling to cover your mortgage, pay bills and feed the family, would you borrow to buy a boat? Or, in this case, to jump-start construction of a highly speculative train system?
Fortunately, when voters in 2008 approved bonds for high-speed rail, they also provided the Legislature the authority to stop it. Any members who approve the borrowing must explain why they support funding a rail plan we now know will likely never be completed rather than our K-12 schools, colleges and universities, or desperately needed care for the poor and elderly. That’s the trade-off.
And that’s one thing we’ll be debating in 2012.
Dec. 23, 2011
May 23, 2013