California election stirs up a tempest
Nov. 12, 2012
By Joseph Perkins
As I watched the election returns this past Tuesday night (and into the wee hours of Wednesday morning), I was reminded of a line from “The Tempest,” one of the Bard’s greatest hits:
“Hell is empty and all the devils are here.”
Indeed, with California Democrats at long last attaining two-thirds majorities in both the State Senate and Assembly, and with the governorship already in the hands of Democrat Jerry Brown, the devils, er, the Democrats now enjoy complete control in Sacramento.
They can raise California’s existing taxes, which are already sky-high, even higher. And they almost certainly will come up with new taxes – a mileage tax, a plastic bag tax, a soda tax, ad infinitum.
Not even the sky’s the limit anymore with the Democrat supermajority in the Legislature; and with the Republican minority thoroughly emasculated.
So what will Democrats do with all the additional tax dollars flowing into the state treasury? Well some will go, as promised, to close the state’s budget deficit. But some more will go to new spending.
Like high-speed rail to nowhere. And state subsidies of Hollywood movie and television productions. And handouts to “green” companies like Solyndra, the bankrupt solar company, and Fisker Automotive, the floundering electric car company.
Expect them to rehire all the public school teachers laid off during the past three years (notwithstanding that from 1992 to 2009 the number of teachers increased 36 percent while public school enrollment increased over 24 percent).
Also look for them throw a few billion dollars at enviros for clean energy projects and energy efficiency in public buildings.
There will be hidden tax hikes as well
Then there are the hidden taxes that almost certainly will proliferate with Democrat hegemony in the state capital. Indeed, if the Golden State’s CEOs thought their various industries overregulated before Tuesday’s election, they ain’t seen nothing yet.
How about a regulation, targeting home builders, requiring cities to take into account access to healthy food and urban agriculture as a condition of approval for all new residential developments? Or a reg, targeting fast-serve restaurants, banning ion polystyrene food containers?
Yet, while there is much gnashing of teeth in California’s over-regulated business community, among couples earning $250,000 or more that will be hit with Gov. Brown’s new “millionaires” tax, among those who fear even greater special interest influence in Sacramento, all was not lost on Election Day.
For the tempest that swept Democrats into their new supermajority could ultimately prove the party’s undoing; could ultimately lead to a GOP revival in California. That’s because, as Gov. Brown likes to quote, “To whom much has been given, much will be expected.”
The voters have given Gov. Brown and his fellow Democrats near absolute power in Sacramento, so they rightfully expect the Democrats – facing no obstruction to speak of from Republicans – to solve the state’s longstanding problems; to give the Golden State the good government it has so sorely lacked for so many years.
That means growing the state economy. Getting the nearly 2 million jobless Californians back to work. Balancing the state budget on time, and with no legerdemain. Improving the performance of public school students. Reducing state energy prices, including electricity and gasoline. And lowering the cost of doing business in the Golden State, which remains the nation’s highest.
I don’t expect the Democrats to achieve all of these things. But, if they somehow surprise, I’ll be the first to give the devils their due.
May 22, 2013