Who Are Our Champions?

This question from the audience stood out for me more than any other question when I attended the California Budget Project’s 2011 policy conference last March. Sacramento was two months into a budget process that looked like it would be cuts-only, again.

Who Should Be Our Champions?

The 99% in California should be championed by the leadership of the Democratic Party. The people voted Democrats into 100% of the statewide offices (Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, Controller, Treasurer, Insurance Commissioner, Superintendent of Public Instruction); both U.S. Senate seats; and big majorities in both houses of the state legislature.

Democratic officials should stand together and go to the people who elected them, not to the Republican elected officials who were elected into only 35% of the seats in the Assembly, and 37.5% in the Senate. Almost all of them signed the [Rich] Taxpayer Protection Pledge to never raise taxes no matter what.

What Could Champions Say?

The huge Democratic majority could stand together and tell Californians what politicians have avoided telling us for more than 30 years. Proposition 13 had a rotten part that has hurt California and especially our young people. The 2/3 majority to raise taxes has helped us become a state with 85 billionaires, all the while schools, parks, libraries, water and transportation systems are declining. The 2/3 majority to raise taxes created a situation where the 1% highest income households pay a lower rate of their income in state and local taxes than the bottom 20%.

Education or Excuses?

By education, I mean education both for our youth, and for ourselves so we can improve our situation. By excuses, I mean using the Republican Party as an excuse, instead of using the bully pulpit and all possible power to change the rules and stop granting a small minority veto power over taxing the rich. Will we get education, or will we get excuses and cuts-only budgets, again?

Voters voted in old Prop 13 in 1978. Let’s get educated about the problems Prop 13 brought us and our kids, and let’s vote the rotten parts out.

SOURCES:

85 Billionaires in California

http://www.city-data.com/forum/california/1385158-85-californians-named-among-forbes-400-a.html

Tax rates of the richest 1% vs. poorest 20%

Go to http://www.cbp.org/publications/state_taxes_land.html and click on “Who Pays Taxes?”

Taxpayer Protection Pledge, also called the Grover Norquist pledge

“I, [   ], pledge to the taxpayers of the [   ] District of the state of [   ] and all the people of this state that I will oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes.”

About Laura Wells: Solutions
I ran for Controller in California in 2014 on a State Bank and Tax The Rich platform. I am part of the “No Corporate Money” Campaign, in which candidates pledge to take no corporate money and voters declare our intention to vote for no-corporate-money candidates. As a Green Party candidate for Governor of California in 2010, I was arrested outside a gubernatorial debate for “trespassing at a private party.” But we won't stop, and so let's create a "public party" where we debate solutions to California's finances, like implementing a State Bank and taxing the rich -- to reduce the disparity and open up opportunities. Twitter: @LauraWellsCA

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