By Howard Roark
For months now, California Governor Gavin Newsom has taken every single opportunity to demean and bash conservatives for our efforts to do what many believed would never be possible: put him up for recall. But as quickly as he sent his kids back to in-person private school this past fall, Newsom seems to have embraced an age old conservative principle: give taxpayers some of their money back.
In his press conference last week announcing his economic recovery plan/attempt to overcome the recall, the governor proudly screeched, “California is roaring back!” In true Golden State fashion, our governor will celebrate with traditional gilded stimulus checks. Under his proposal, Californians earning less than $75,000 per year would receive $600 stimulus checks. Those with children and undocumented immigrants would receive $500 bonuses.
Predictable as it is, it’s nevertheless nothing but pathetic, pandering political theater at its worse, a lame attempt to undo the damage of his French Laundry soirée and his this-is-fine-for-me-but-not-for-thee reign of terror on California’s citizens and businesses.
The governor is sitting on a mountain of cash because (a) California’s highest earners pay the highest income taxes in the nation and (b) two successive administrations have sent to California billions in federal cash. The result: a $75.7 billion state surplus.
He’s handing it out, in part because he’s required by law to do so thanks to something called the Gann Limit. Led by tax-reform advocate Paul Gann, California voters overwhelmingly implemented this tax protection in 1979, capping state spending at 1978-79 levels, adjusted for population and inflation. Revenues that exceed this limit must be returned to taxpayers through tax cuts or rebates — and to public schools, thanks to a subsequent initiative, Prop. 98.
Rather than distribute that money equitably to the taxpayers who paid it or enact real tax reform as required under Gann — permanent tax cuts that would benefit the state and its residents for decades – Newsom plans to redistribute it to just some taxpayers on the eve of his looming recall.
Wealth redistribution is of course core to liberal ideology. But what makes Newsom’s plan interesting is how he justifies it: with reference to a decades-old law born of true fiscal conservatism.
He’s even sounding like a conservative.
“We believe people are better suited than we are to make determinations for themselves on how best to use these dollars,” Newsom said.
Now folks, this isn’t the real fiscal conservatism Gann was going for, and giving anything more than a passing glance to Newsom’s proposal raises eyebrows. It’s wealth distribution and politicking on the backs of taxpayers, thinly veiled as conservatism in an effort to pander to the dumb masses.
John Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, raised questions about whether Newsom’s targeted approach would actually satisfy the Gann Limit, but acknowledged it’s hard to argue with returning money to taxpayers even through such a flawed proposal.
Lest we forget that the surplus was achieved not because of the governor and his policies but despite them, Coupal offered a poignant reminder: “The people who deserve the credit are the people who are writing checks to the government.”
I certainly hope nobody is fooled by this little game Newsom is playing and trust me when I say there are to many reasons to send him packing come this fall. If any of you need a reminder may I suggest this article by Tom Del Beccaro at the Fox News website. In it he explains why the entire nation should be supporting the recall effort and how this should be a lesson to other states in how to deal with these out of control leftist Democrats who are determined to destroy the American way of life one state at a time.
And as Tom points out while at first blush that may not seem like it matters if you live outside of California, the plain truth is that the Golden State’s far-left policies are damaging the entire nation and regardless of where you live in the country, you have to pay for a good chunk of them.