Betty Arenson | Californians, Grab Your Wallets

SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
SCV Voices: Guest Commentary
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The adage “voters have spoken” is a cursory statement, but did they really?  One wholesale example is the fraudulent wording on the 2018 ballot regarding Proposition 6 (repealing Senate Bill 1’s increased taxes on gas, diesel, fuel taxes and vehicle registrations of 2017) and the corresponding television ads.

The message sent was if “Yes-on-Proposition 6” passed, there would be no money for California’s road repairs. One ad claimed the bureaucrats would lose about $6.3 billion a year for fixes. That number is a farce because SB1 was sold as garnering $5.2 billion a year for repairs. Predictably, there was no mention of the approximate $250 billion already collected from taxpayers in the 10 fiscal years up to 2018 for said repairs, rendering us still residing in the Pot Hole state.

“Yes-on 6” was defeated because of voter naiveté believing the same prevaricators will positively act as promised (history defies that) and because the wording was so misrepresentative, people thought a No vote was a repeal vote.

The same can be said for Proposition 11. Emergency medical technicians have not been shy about stating their feelings on Facebook citing the passage of this proposition means a cut in pay to them.

Then there is “we get the government that we deserve.”

The first four propositions were bonds, i.e. taxpayer debt.

Proposition 1 passed with that feel-good wording of “Authorizes $4 billion of state general obligation bonds to fund existing housing programs.” Helping veterans get homes is only a small part of it. Much of the money is going to “Multifamily Housing Program (MHP) loans”; Transit-Oriented Development Implementation Fund grants and loans, regional planning, housing, and infill incentive account grants (anyone understand that?); farm worker housing grants; grants for pilot programs for innovative demonstrations and Self-Help Housing Fund, i.e., loan forgiveness.    

The onus for reading details is on the voter. The $4 billion is a tease; the actual debt will be at least $170 million annually for the next 35 years.

Likewise, Proposition 2 bond for $2 billion, passed with the message of “Use Millionaire’s Tax Revenue for Homelessness Prevention Housing Bonds.”   Some $140 million annually will  transfer “from the existing Mental Health Services Fund to the No Place Like Home Program, with no increase in taxes.”  No fiscal impact to taxpayers? This looks like robbing Peter to pay Paul. Undoubtedly taxes will then be raised to provide the $140 million hole to the original program.

The bureaucrats are persistent in constantly pursuing water bonds all in the propaganda of conservation, capturing and producing clean drinking water. Proposition 3 would have cost $433 million per year over 40 years. It failed.

Proposition 4 passed with helping hospitals and the children. Those are always winners for the tax-and-spenders. Purportedly the nearly $3 billion will go to “qualifying, private nonprofit hospitals” for children eligible under government programs. Part of the money is going to the University of California System children’s hospitals. Why taxpayers are continually tapped for this when the UC System has nearly $9.8 billion in endowments? Undoubtedly there is some protective wording that precludes such spending.

The impact of millions of dollars spread over decades gets diluted. It’s forgotten that (1) we’re paying for the bonds passed in prior years; (2) the money is spent long before the debt-terms are up and (3) more bonds come in the interim.

Editorial writer and columnist Susan Shelly puts it very plainly:

Bonds are DEBT;

Bonds must be paid for first out of the general fund. If other expenses require more money, then taxes are increased;

Many calls for “funding” means more property taxes due;

A tax for special purposes requires a two-thirds voter majority;

A tax imposed as “general” needs only a simple majority;

If the proposed tax mentions dollars for police, firefighters, etc., but includes “and general funding,” every reference before the word “general” is erased and not one penny has to go toward fire or police;

In the end, the money can be used to pay for government employees’ salary raises and their ever-mounting pensions.

With Gavin Newsom as the new governor joining the rest of the tax-and-spenders, fiscal conservatives are fully justified in their concerns for themselves and California’s future.

Newsom holds a free-for-all belief. He and fellow Democrats will be burdening taxpayers with new taxes such as taxes on services rendered, like haircuts, veterinarian visits, dry-cleaning, etc. Proposition 13 will be quashed, beginning with commercial property changes, to double and triple our property taxes.

It’s a very dismal view of what’s coming.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident. “Right Here, Right Now” appears Saturdays and rotates among several local Republicans.

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