Betty Arenson | Is it Going Well for Taxpayers in Sacramento?

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The Democrats’ super-majority in the California Legislature, as well as their followers, do not fall short on bragging about a state $22 billion surplus. The dirty, little not-so-secret reality of the California state and local combined debt conveniently remains muted. This includes nearly $1 trillion in pension liabilities (https://californiapolicycenter.org/californias-state-and-local-liabilities-total-1-5-trillion-2/) 

So, irrespective of the $1 trillion debt, and focusing on the $22 billion surplus, why is Gov. Gavin Newsom proposing $2 billion of new taxes on Californians? 

Democrats answer “it’s good for you.” The adversaries answer, “You’re killing citizen taxpayers and our state with your spending addictions.”

Astoundingly, Newsom intends to provide illegal aliens free health insurance/health care with our tax dollars, furthering the sanctuary state expenses and paying the (barely-mentioned) pension debt, to name two.

Following are some additional operating highlights of our Sacramento Legislature’s majority. 

One: A new California Health Access (health consumer advocacy group) study highlighted the failures of the Sacramento County’s Medi-Cal system; a topic repeatedly vocalized by Republicans. Cited are the lack of doctors, complex navigation of the health care system and no public hospital. Assemblyman Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, says in 10 years Medi-Cal spending has doubled with “no evidence of improved health outcomes.”

California Heath Report, May 20, reports, “Medi-Cal covers around 5.5 million children — more than half of kids in the state…” Each year from 2013 to 2018, about 2.4 million children “did not receive all required preventive services.” 

There are 428,000 Sacramento County residents enrolled in this faulty system, with Newsom and Democrats planning to add millions more around the state. Clearly, their focus is on big numbers and votes, not viable working solutions. 

Two: On their own, Democrats passed obscene increases on gas/fuel and vehicle registration fees (to automatically increase every year) then published misleading ballot wording to ensure the failure of Proposition 6, which would have repealed the increased costs.

In comedic fashion, on Jan. 28, Assembly Democrats sent a letter to California Attorney General Xavier Becerra demanding the Department of Justice investigate (high) gas prices under the guise of an “unexplained surcharge.” The authenticity of their “concerns” was exposed this month when they had the chance to stop the nearly 6% gas increase that hits us July 1. 

Republicans had a plan to delay the increase and not one Democrat supported it. 

For a comparison, in 2016 our fuel tax was 28 cents per gallon; it will be 47.3 cents per gallon. 

Never believe the Democrats’ cry that they feel the pain of the working man or the poor.

On the topic of Senate Bill 1’s increased fuel taxes and vehicle registration “fees,” I wrote at least three commentaries and more published letters, telling of the hoodwink in SB1’s language, and I was a strong proponent of Yes on Prop. 6 to repeal the sham. Part of the information imparted was that our money would not go to road repairs or for traffic congestion relief. 

Now when it’s too late, there are complaints from the once-believers. People are awakening with anger that the taxes are not being spent as promised by Democrats! 

Not only are roads not being repaired and congestion is not relieved, but some areas are on “road diets.” Driving lanes are being erased and replaced by bicycle lanes. Lawsuits are being filed as a result of increased travel times and traffic diverting into residential neighborhoods. https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gas-tax-funding-road-diet-projects-20190527-story.html

Three: Recently Assemblyman Steven Choi, R-Irvine, tried to advance Assembly Bill 1094, which clearly states, “This bill would, in an action alleging conduct by a member of the Legislature that constitutes sexual harassment, as defined, prohibit either house of the Legislature from paying any compromise or settlement of the action.” In other words, taxpayers shall not pay for their perverted acts. No Democrat supported this —that would include our Assemblywoman Christy Smith.

Oddly, in January 2018 Democrats introduced AB1750 that would “… require an elected official to reimburse a public entity that pays any compromise or settlement of a claim or action involving conduct that constitutes sexual harassment, if an investigation reveals evidence supporting the claim of sexual harassment against the elected official.”

In response to the bill that went nowhere, what are the chances of “reimbursement” to the taxpayers once the claim is paid and secondly, clearly this was nothing more than showtime for a reaction to #METOO. 

In the end, this contempt cannot be said any clearer than one Republican lawmaker put it: “Democrats sided with sex predator lawmakers instead of victims and taxpayers (who are still on the hook for paying out settlements).” 

There’s more to come on the activities or lack of, on behalf of the California Democrats’ super-majority.

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

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