California prepares to rip off its taxpayers some more

Posted by: ST on November 1, 2009 at 11:08 am

And read how the LA Times spins it as “not a tax increase”:

Reporting from Los Angeles and Sacramento – Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners — holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.

Technically, it’s not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers’ annual tax bills won’t change.

Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You’ll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.

But with rising gas costs, depressed home prices and double-digit unemployment, the state’s added reach into residents’ regular paycheck isn’t sitting well with many.

“The state’s suddenly slapping people upside the head,” said Mack Reed, 50, of Silver Lake. “It’s appalling how brash that is.”

Brittney McKaig, 23, of Santa Ana said she expects the additional withholding to affect her holiday spending.

“Coming into the holidays, we’re getting squeezed anyway,” she said. “We’re not getting Christmas bonuses and other perks we used to get. So it all falls back on spending. The $40 gift will become a $20 gift.”

The extra withholding may seem like a small amount siphoned from each paycheck, but it adds up to a $1.7-billion fix for California’s deficit-riddled books.

From a single taxpayer earning $51,000 a year with no dependents, the state will be grabbing an extra $17.59 each month, according to state tax officials. A married person earning $90,000 with two dependents would receive $24.87 less in monthly pay.

McQ cuts through what sounds like state-sponsored spin from the LAT:

You’ll get a “larger” refund if the state has the money to pay refunds. Weren’t they issuing IOUs not long ago? But that’s not the point. The state has just made it clear that it has first claim on what Californians earn. If that doesn’t scare the bejesus out of them, I’m not sure what will.

I like Ed Morrissey’s solution:

This all starts with state leadership unwilling to make the tough decisions on cutbacks in the massive state bureaucracy. Instead of cutting their own budgets, they’re cutting the personal budgets of all Californians by seizing their assets without compensation. Golden State residents should ask themselves why they put up with a group of politicians who claim to be unable to reduce state spending but have no problem dipping into the pockets of Californians who actually work for a living.

Next November, Californians should conduct a full-unemployment program in their state legislature, and “withhold” 100% of the salaries of the current political class.

Man oh man – I would love to see that. I know the minority of conservatives who have lived in CA for years and have fought for a smaller government and lower taxes would even more. But with California being a liberal state, it means that a majority of bleeding heart lefties would have to have had enough of the state ripping off its hard working citizens – including its lefty citizens – to throw out any state legislator up for re-election next year who went along with approving this highway robbery.

Will they? ST reader and LA resident Anthony isn’t so sure:

Sacramento’s irresponsibility and unwillingness to face reality is appalling. These are people we elected to run the state for the best interests of all, yet they continually mortgage our future and dig an ever deeper fiscal hole, refusing to make the admittedly harsh spending and tax cuts needed to begin to restore California to financial health. Instead they pander to the public employees unions ( the prison guards, for example) and other left-wing single-interest groups that live off the taxpayer and in turn are big donors to legislators’ election campaigns. So they kick the can down the road, pretend that “this time, we’ve fixed the problem” and hope that no one remembers the next time it happens.

California’s political culture is sick, and its public servants instead constitute a ruling class. This is not a democratic republic: thanks to safe seats and special-interest donors, our state government is instead a self-perpetuating oligarchy of professional politicians. This farce with accelerated withholding is just another example of how out of touch with the average Californians the Mandarins of the Golden Dome have become.

If California is to have any Hope, it’s time for a major Change.

Stay tuned …

Cross-posted to Right Wing News, where I am helping guestblog for John Hawkins on Sundays.

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11 Responses to “California prepares to rip off its taxpayers some more”


  1. Bill says:

    California is nothing more than a window into the future of the rest of this nation. When liberals take over the government and force socialism on the population the result is economic meltdown.

    I’m often just amazed at how unintellectual so call intellectual liberals are. Even a moron can figure out people aren’t going to spend more and work harder to produce more if you leave them less money to spend for doing so.

    Personally, I think California should be allowed to completely collapse economically as a monument to socialism and as a warning to the rest of the nation of the complete failure of the socialist economic welfare system, which we seem to be adopting at break-neck speed in this country.

  2. Xrlq says:

    The Legislature bears its share of responsibility, but so too does the electorate for enacting Prop 98, which forces education spending to ratchet up skyward whenever revenue is up, and bars the Legislature from cutting it back when it is not. Together with the 2/3 majority requirement for passing budgets, Prop 13 (which guarantees a free ride for those who’ve lived in their houses since the 1970s, and a correspondingly high tax burden for those who have not) make the state ungovernable.

  3. Carlos says:

    And as is typical, fleeing Californicators will bring their special bleeding hearts (and empty minds) to surrounding states to make them the utopias they’ve already made of California. They just seem to have an inability to see that accepting unpaying fellow “citizens” leads to bankruptcy, as does increasing welfare roles with government workers (who, for the most part, perform simple makeshift work oppressive to the producers).

    I’ve not seen anything but the promos for the new ABC series “V”, but they sound eerily like what’s coming out of D.C. (and Sacramento). Might be worth a watch this season, until Hollyweird P.C. writers somehow turn it into a show that blames all conservatives for the woes the aliens visit upon humanity.

  4. Louise says:

    Weird. Last time I looked, a Republican was governator of California, not a “godless, spending liberal.” So how come the liberals get blamed for what’s going on? California is screwed, no matter what. I’m seriously planning on leaving the state. Too crowded, too expensive, too much of everything that contradicts the pursuit of happiness.

  5. Carlos says:

    Louise, just how is Guvnor S any different from any other Democrat? He has no set, unyielding political principals and he spends just the same. I’m convinced he registered as a Republican just so he could run against Governor Gray (who wouldn’t have won in a race with a baboon – oh, wait…)

    That said, just like the feds, the legislature is the one who passes budgets, not the guvnor; all he can do is sign them into law or veto them. Another sign the guvnor is really a donkey.

    And, if you were paying attention, it’s been a long time since I saw the claim that signing up as a “Republican” automatically made one a fiscal conservative. As proof, I offer you the Republican side of our national Congress.

  6. Ron Russell says:

    Its simply amazing how politicians will always find a way to get more money in the bank for the state. How do these crazy people keep getting re-elected when they continue to screw the people. Some voters just might like that feeling. I now there are a lot of sicko’s in the not so “Golden state” but this is nuts.

  7. Jo says:

    Bill said it all–the liberal lunacy (and Ah-nold is no true Republican if there are even any of those left, pardon the pun) now occurring in Caly-fornia is destined to spread across this once great nation under the liberal, Socialist, radical lunatic reign of terror called the Obama Administration. God help us all. Oh wait–that’s quite discriminatory and non-embracing of me. Let me change that (change being the magic word of the day): Oh Great Unproven Supreme Alleged Creator of the Universe, please help us!

  8. Let’s remember that Schwarzenegger was actually trying for fiscal sanity until the voters told him “cut that out!” in 2004. That’s when he went squishy and for better reason than most.

    None of the union spending or gerrymandered districts would work if the voters really objected to what the legislature is doing. I predict that this extra withholding will make effectively no difference in the next set of elections in CA.

  9. Great White Rat says:

    Related to this, a good column in (of all places) the Los Angeles Times comparing low-tax Texas with high-tax California.

    Summary of the article: neither state does a great job of providing services, but Texas does it better on less money than California. The reason: they focus more on what the taxpayers need. One example from the column:

    Texas not only spends its citizens’ dollars more effectively than California but emphasizes priorities that are more broadly beneficial. Per capita spending on transportation was 5.9% lower in California, and highway expenditures in particular were 9.5% lower, a discovery both plausible and infuriating to any Los Angeles commuter losing the will to live while sitting in yet another freeway traffic jam.

    So who does benefit from the high taxes Californians pay? You guessed it: public employee unions.

    the latest posting on the website of the California Foundation for Fiscal Responsibility shows 9,223 former civil servants and educators receiving pensions worth more than $100,000 a year from California’s public retirement funds.

    Which is why people are leaving states like CA, NY, MA, and NJ and heading to states like Texas. Unfortunately, as Carlos noted, many of them are economically illiterate libs who will promptly vote for the same policies in the new state that ruined their old states.

  10. Carlos says:

    Sometime, somewhere down the road, the socialists will drop all pretenses, take possession of all wages, then dole worthless money out at the end of the year (or whenever they get around to it). And they won’t have to pony up on the campaign trail with their droll “for the little guy” act ever again, because there won’t be any more campaigns where actual votes are needed.

    If libs/leftists/socialists really wanted their “victims” to have pride and dignity they’d find a way to let them earn it, instead of scheming every way they could to steal more of our money.