Letter to the Editor: To tax or not


Senator Gaines represents Mono County in the California State Senate.

Taxes not the Answer for California’s Economy
by State Senator Ted Gaines

This month marks Presidents Day, and as we celebrate Lincoln’s birthday it’s timely that we look at the tax farce troubling his home state of Illinois.  Last year, in a move that must have left legislative Democrats dizzy with admiration and envy, the Illinois legislature jacked personal income tax rates up by 67 percent and corporate tax rates up by nearly 50 percent. Despite assurances that were made when the taxes were passed, the legislature still has not closed their budget gap, and they won’t until they get the political will to control their spending.

Let Illinois be a lesson to everyone who believes in the magical powers of tax increases. They do not occur in a vacuum. Unless governments have the discipline to rein in spending – which California certainly does not – tax increases just enable more extravagant spending plans and takes money away from the working families who have earned it.

California’s problem is not that the people are taxed too little, but that the government spends too much.  We have to examine every possible avenue for saving money so that we can keep providing core government services, such as education and public safety, at a price we can afford.

For example, why does California have a full-time legislature?  Texas and more than 40 other states do just fine with part-time legislatures that meet far less often than California’s and where the legislators make far less than we make every year.
Besides the savings, it’s a good idea to get legislators away from the Capitol cocoon more often and out in the real world, living and working under the rules they pass in Sacramento.   I own a business and I’m constantly frustrated by the maze of regulations that grows and changes with every legislative session.  I know how hard California makes it for businesses to succeed.

In my business I can’t just keep spending and spending and then force my clients to pay more and more to cover my spending.  When times are tight, I have to cut back, find ways to save money, provide the same services more efficiently.  Government should be taking that same approach, when unemployment is eleven percent and state government is running multi-billion dollar deficits.   Now is not the time to be growing government.

But, incredibly, Governor Brown’s budget plan spends $6 billion more in 2012-13 than in 2011-12.  And to pay for it, Governor Brown and the Democrats want to pass the bill along to their customers.  The Governor is pushing for a five-year, $35-billion tax increase.  Sales taxes and income taxes will go up during those five years, costing families precious dollars that they could use for groceries, vacations, school clothes and thousands of other necessities that are already hard to afford in our high-cost, highly regulated state.

Let’s take a private-sector approach before we shake down taxpayers any further.  How about putting a stop to the $100 billion-plus High Speed Rail plan that will soak up billions of dollars a year for decades?   How about allowing schools to contract with the private sector to provide services like transportation or food service?

I oppose Governor Brown’s call for higher taxes.  State tax rates went down last year but state tax revenues are growing and are expected to continue growing for the next several years. This indicates that our economy – slowly and precariously – is moving forward.  Let’s not kill that momentum by larding on even higher, unnecessary taxes.
Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Mono, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento and Sierra counties.

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37 Responses to Letter to the Editor: To tax or not

  1. Ken Warner February 24, 2012 at 2:41 pm #

    Ever wonder what it would be like to see the World as a conservative Republican Tea Bag would see it? Well at last there is a way for all us Progressive Liberals to finally get our heads straight and our perspective corrected so that we all are talking about the same issues.


    Note: these are only to be worn in the presence of a designated Emergency Progressive Pundit due to the possibility of extreme political disorientation.

  2. Ken Warner February 23, 2012 at 5:26 pm #

    WRT: Taxes and Obama’s conspiracies — you all should watch last nights Jon Stewart. You get to hear the Republicans describe their idiocy in their own words. And listen to the guest talk about taxes and the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans. He echo’s my thoughts with crystal clarity.


    • Rock of Ages February 23, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

      @Ken…”he echos my thought’s…” Who’s spin is more substanstiated, …your’s and John Stewart’s or someone like Disgruntled , who’s living the hypocrosisy? Face it Ken, we are sooooo far beyond our intended parimeters….Constintuionally speaking…..

      • Ken Warner February 24, 2012 at 9:53 am #

        …and who decides what is Constitutional? A right wing leaning Supreme Court that things corporations are people and torture and warrentless wiretaps are ok.

        • DisgruntledGovDrone February 24, 2012 at 11:45 am #

          Please don’t think that links to Barack and Biden’s campaign website PROVE anything. I thought you had a link to the Bureau of Labor Statistics or something. Its a free country so read what you want, but you shouldn’t try to use these propaganda sites as PROOF that your opinions are based on actual research of facts.
          I am more than happy to examine actual data with no political spin on it, that means I look at the numbers and DECIDE FOR MYSELF what they mean.
          But thanks, because now I intend to go to Labor Statistics and see if Obama’s little campaign graph is actually supported by facts.

          • Ken Warner February 24, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

            Ok, I’m really looking forward to your interpretation of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data. If you find an error — please report it to the President as well as posting it here. I’m sure he would welcome your information and I certainly would like the real truth.


            Please do follow up and tell us all what you find out.

  3. Big AL February 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm #

    I’ll try this post again lol, last night mine was the only post on this story when I left it at about 1:30 in the morning.
    I was enjoying reading everyone’s posts, and mine is awaiting moderation, if you get this one Bennet, you can delete the other one, hehe.

    I agree with Ted, we can’t pass this rate hike that is proposed. The state tax revenues are growing slowly. And the economy is still very fragile. We have to find ways to cut spending, and in this time we do need to freeze hiring, even though there is need for employees in the different state agencies.
    With all of the services, and the level of service that the individual departments provide, it is difficult to provide them at times, when positions are cut, through attrition, or job cuts, which means more work put on fewer individuals.
    Cutting equipment makes the level of service more difficult, cutting supplies and materials, all of this makes the job harder to make services continue at sufficient level.
    But we do need to look at cutting costs, even in these areas, but how do we do that and maintain level of service.
    The cost of doing this gets higher every year, just the same as in business, business just raises the cost of doing business to the customer or take the loss. But we know very well, business will not take a loss.
    Government doesn’t worry about taking a loss, only the difference with government, it doesn’t really has a loss to report, there is no gain, just services provided to the customer with no profit to report.
    but still the question remains how do we cut costs and maintain an adequate level of service to the public.
    I think the answer doesn’t lie in cutting positions and equipment and supplies, although there is always room to find ways there, that can help. But I think the answer is in the constraints that departments have to work with to deliver their services.
    A lot of departments face federally mandated procedures to work through, these mandates usually are very cumbersome to the departments to deal with.
    They usually cost large amounts of extra money to pay out for mitigating issues, such as environmental protection.
    Environmental mitigation in my opinion is one of the greatest scams put on the tax payers. While I do 100 percent, believe that there is a need for protecting the environment, there is a lot of waste, and unneeded mitigation out there.
    That is one single item, that could be streamlined, not abandoned, but streamlined. That is just one issue that comes to mind.
    Another is dealing with the lawsuit scam, as I have mentioned in another thread, lawsuits Are another big scam put on no only the tax payer, but really on our society in general. If you want to think about where a good portion of our money goes through various departments, do a study on the amount of money the state pays out in lawsuits.
    While some lawsuits are righteous, there are 10 for every 1 that is bogus. And some of the heavy hitters in this category have been environmental lawsuits and mitigation.
    Law suits have become a way of life for some, and automatic thing to do when wronged, or at the perception of being wronged.
    Tort liability, a bad thing for us, a good thing for lawyers, and remember all judges are lawyers. The more money that can be foreseen in a lawsuit, the more incentive for lawyers to bring these cases to court.
    But don’t blame it all on the lawyers, they only get the people to bring these cases to court, and or they fallow the wishes clients in bringing them to court.
    Rather blame the jury. When it is all said and done, when the evidence is explained and the accusations laid out, and the fancy and passionate summations are given to the jury, it is up to them to find the real truth, if they can see the woods for the trees, or basically see the truth for all of the BS.
    I really believe that lawsuits and mitigation are a big drain for our state. The state of California, has the most concentrated amount of environmental laws and regulations that any other state, I’m sure.
    Protect the environment, but make more sense with it, don’t just blindly follow some one person, or collaboration of persons who will sell us a bill of goods and say it is right and good.
    And Let’s say no to the scammers who are bleeding us dry through frivolous lawsuits and mitigation.
    These are just a couple worms in the can.

    • Benett Kessler February 23, 2012 at 2:11 pm #

      Big Al,
      We very much appreciate your comments but must ask you to keep them brief.
      Benett Kessler

      • Big AL February 23, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

        Ahhh sorry, yeah I get carried away at times Bennet.

    • Ken Warner February 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

      Big AL — one of the few post that I completely agree with. There is no reason we can’t be smarter with public money. There is no reason we can’t reform the laws that have let the society become so litigious. Mammoth vs. MLLA is a prime example.

      But we also just can’t slash and burn public service like the Tea Bag seem to insist on doing.

      Smart is good. Thoughtless governance is not.

  4. Eastern Sierra local February 22, 2012 at 11:40 am #

    I agree with Senator Gaines entirely, California is one of the most heavily taxed States in the nation. While people have been cutting back, government continues to grow and be straddled with more regulations that require more employees for oversight of those regulations.
    As an employee of a State Agency I see the over-paid and under worked nature of quiet a few State employees (not saying that all of them are this way) and it’s appalling.
    Another frivolous expense of State government is the continued spending on illegal aliens.
    It all needs to stop; reduce the tax rate, cut government programs and regulations, and reduce the amount of State employees.

    • Rob February 22, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

      Eastern Sierra Local should run for Governor. You got my vote!

      • upthecreek February 22, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

        it takes approx 6 private sector jobs to support one government job.

        “during the last two years the number of public employees has increased from 22.3 million in January 2008 to 22.4 million in January 2010, after peaking at 22.6 million in July 2009. . The number of private jobs decreased from 115.5 million in January 2008 to 107 million. That’s a lose of 8.7 million jobs in the private sector while the public sector gained almost 100,000 jobs.

        How many Local, County,State and federal government jobs are in Mammoth??


        • Ken Warner February 22, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

          Look at it this way — it takes one public service job to support the needs of 6 people. You know, like roads, Fire, Police, Medical Services, water, sewer (now there’s a sweet job), trash(another one) and on and on.

          Be thankful that there are people who are willing to shovel shit for you…..

          • upthecreek February 23, 2012 at 4:22 pm #


            For what they get paid to shovel the so called “SH*T” … I will do it myself..

          • DisgruntledGovDrone February 23, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

            Dear Ken,
            As a career public servant (snicker, snicker, the servants have become the masters) what kind of math is that? By your reckoning, the city of Bishop (assuming a population of 7000) would need 1,166.67 firefighters, the same number of police, the same number of ? medical personnel? 1200 doctors and 1200 nurses? You see where this is going? What’s bad is it is really going there.

            Believe me, as an Agency employee (can’t tell you which, but it doesn’t matter, they are all the same), the amount of waste, empire-building, stupidity, and actual deliberate lining of pockets would blow your mind. And I’m talking about our local small stuff. If its this bad here, how is it in the upper reaches of government?

            As far as being thankful, for as much money as the other government drones get, I would like a wipe, wash, dry, and a kiss in addition to the shovel work!

          • Ken Warner February 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

            Methinks you have misinterpreted my missive. I was turning upthecreek’s assertion around to show that even his malformed statistic results in still an overall benefit to the community.

            Here in Mammoth, I can assure you that one out of six people are not employed in the local government. In California, in 2010, there was one California government employee for every 100 citizens which is less than the Federal level of 1.4 for every 100 citizens.

            It was a rejoinder — not an assertion of fact.

            Now, there is no reason why public service cannot be held to the same measures of productivity as private sector employees. That’s fine and should be done. But we can’t just fire every government employee like some of the rhetoric here suggests. Unless you want to dig your own well, build your own roads etc. etc.

            And all the brave talk about “doing it myself” — please — when was the last time you didn’t use the conveniences public sector employees provide you every day?

    • Trouble February 22, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      Sierra Local- you seem to suggest that you and your co-workers are in need of being laid off or fired. In my opinion deregulation of the banks and the cooperate greed is what is crushing the poor and middle class in our country. Republicans act like only they deserve pensions and good benefits. I’ve work my but off for 30 years and have seen no signs the trickle down and deregulate theories help any body but the rich.

      • InyoAlias February 23, 2012 at 2:39 pm #

        maybe it’s the way you spell!

      • DisgruntledGovDrone February 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm #

        Sierra local is right, many drones are in need of being laid off and several should be fired. Unfortunately, people like you have no idea what to do or where to start, and defend the higher and higher taxes to pay more drones to tell you what to do, how to do it, yet they are unable to produce anything but more regulation.

        You know where it has to start? People just say NO MORE. No more taxes, no more new government agencies, no more subsidies, no bailouts, etc. Make do with what you have or go down.

    • Ken Warner February 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      Well Eastern Sierra Local — once again the right wing rhetoric is faulty.

      Here’s a graph of state individual tax rates which shows that California is about in the mid range of taxes. Oregon being the most heavily taxed state.


      As for the growth of state government, that’s an ambiguous term but:

      “California has approximately 345,000 full-time equivalent state employees in the
      proposed 2010-2011 budget according to the state Department of Finance. This
      is down by close to 20,000 from the authorized 2008-09 budget. This indicates a
      planned reduction of 10,000 employees in the coming year in addition to the
      10,000 reduction in the previous two years mentioned above.”


      I don’t understand why people keep swallowing the B.S. that the right wing noise machine keeps putting out. It just takes a few minutes research to get the facts.

      But I know, facts are no fun at all. I mean, where’s the fire and brimstone with a fact? Much more fun just to make up outlandish fantasies as you go along.

      • Big AL February 22, 2012 at 9:24 pm #

        Yes Ken, I know, how it is to make ends meet from the perspective of being a government employee, it’s really funny how many of the average govt. employees out there, Federal, state, and local, are living the rich life of kings.
        I mean seriously, we all know someone who is a govt. employee, most of them are not all that well off, unlike the upper crust of the Sacramento.
        Most live pay check to pay check just like others in the community. While some employees live like kings, it seems.
        Oh … higher paying jobs can be found in the private sector, but they don’t usually offer benefits like govt. jobs do, and some in private industry as well. There are trade off as in anything in life.

        The naked truth doesn’t sell the hype and hate like outlandish slams do.

      • Trouble February 22, 2012 at 9:37 pm #

        Ken – I’m grateful that someone is able to express my beliefs in a much more educated and nice manor. Because I honestly believe you would have to be either extremely wealthy or completely nuts to support the Republican agenda anymore.

      • InyoAlias February 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

        Ken, Oregon HAS NO SALES TAX, last time I checked. We have sales tax, income tax, luxury tax, property tax, gas tax, etc. I pay a weight fee on my small pickup that weighs about as much as half an SUV.
        Get real, you seem to be forgetting or ignoring all the County, city, and special district employees that get tax dollars from the state.

        • Ken Warner February 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

          InyoAlias — what is your point exactly?

          You don’t like taxes yet you use all the conveniences that they provide. If you don’t like being part of this society — take yourself off the grid. Go build a shack in the middle of nowhere and crap in a hole.

          Is what you really want is to have all the conveniences that you use everyday for free? You want all those people who work every day to make your life easier to work for free for you?

          That’s not going to happen and blaming the people who provide you those conveniences for taking the small remuneration that they receive for doing really difficult jobs for you is just childish.

          • InyoAlias February 24, 2012 at 11:34 am #

            WHAT IS YOUR POINT?
            Lets see, I haven’t checked out a book from the library for years.

            I DO drive on the highway and county roads.

            I shower and flush the toilet, but I PAY the SEWER district for that privilege. Oh wait, when I shower I use electricity that I pay for (double what DWP charges customers) to pump MY PRIVATE WELL. This is the water I drink also.

            Sooo.., what conveniences am I getting for my tax dollars? What really difficult jobs are the taxeaters doing for me?

            Please reply, because I can’t think of any, short of maintaining roads and having a library that I haven’t had time to enjoy lately.

            We have a volunteer Fire Department, pay for ambulance service…
            I also pay to live in my house, mortgage, insurance, and PROPERTY TAX, and as I said, I pay the sewer district so I don’t have to bury poop. Did you think that sewer is PAID FOR BY TAX DOLLARS?

  5. Trouble February 22, 2012 at 4:28 am #

    Ya,ya,ya, tell me more about how Democrats are to blame for all our country’s problems. Laying off everybody and farming out their jobs is the only solution you seem to suggest here. What do you suggest to do to create more good paying jobs for your district?

  6. upthecreek February 21, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

    Of course they will tax us.
    This is all THEY KNOW..

    Tax tax tax …Spend spend spend


    • Ken Warner February 22, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Duh! “Sen. Gaines said. “State tax rates went down last year…”

  7. Ken Warner February 21, 2012 at 10:13 pm #

    ..and another thing — the Republicans complain like it’s the end of the World that the Keystone pipeline is not going to be built saying it would create thousands of jobs. And then complain about the High Speed Rail project which would create thousands of jobs.

    It appears that the only good jobs are jobs Republicans create regardless of the real costs.

  8. Ken Warner February 21, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

    Senator Gaines is a good looking guy and smart too. But regardless of his reassuring words, the national and local economy has been in the control of Republican administrations. And this is what we got.

    Since Gov. Brown took office, the number of employed people in California have increased. And the high speed rail project is one vital project that will pump billions into the economy not. “…soak up billions…” for decades. That’s money for infrastructure that stimulates the creation of jobs by enabling entrepreneurs to take advantage of fast, cheap, safe, reliable transportation between major population centers.

    A great example of how rail can revitalize the economy of the towns it passes through is to look at the light rail system in San Diego. Around each new train station, the local economy just blossoms.

    Think about the boon to Mammoth and Bishop if there was a high speed rail line from San Diego through L.A through the Owens Valley to Bishop.

    I really don’t understand why Republicans want to continue promoting the same economic policies that nearly wrecked our national and local economy. Bush got his tax cuts and look what happened. Sen. Gaines, for some reason, wants to emulate Bush’s disaster in California.

    Enough of the Republican’s funny logic. Sen. Gaines said. “State tax rates went down last year but state tax revenues are growing and are expected to continue growing for the next several years. This indicates that our economy – slowly and precariously – is moving forward.”

    Sen. Gaines tells you that Gov. Brown’s administration is improving the California economy — then opposes it. Try and understand that if you can.

    • InyoAlias February 22, 2012 at 12:57 pm #

      Yes, What a boon to the economy, just like air service is to Mammoth. Just as long as it’s subsidized by those of us who can’t afford to use it.
      Also, Brown’s administration is NOT “improving the economy” that is happening in spite of Brown’s administration. Tax rates went down last year because all the “temporary” increases expired, which of course, is bumming Brown out, he wants to keep them high and add more!
      I think we should tax the rich, the same rich that paid $35,000/plate last week for dinner with Obama, those cats have definitely got more money than they need. The cost of one plate could support an average family for a year. In fact, forget tax, lets just ask them for charitable donations.

      • Ken Warner February 23, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

        Yeah, that socialist, Muslim extremist, Kenyan is destroying America with his anti-job and anti-growth and anti-industry over regulation, tax and spend government.

        Here’s proof!


        • DisgruntledGovDrone February 23, 2012 at 5:01 pm #

          Ken, Graphs are nice, but without any explanation of where the data came from, how it was collected, who collected it, etc. its just a pretty colored picture. I see it came from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, so is there a related report?

    • Tourbillon February 22, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      “The national and local economy has been in the control of Republican administrations.”

      Democrats have controlled both branches of the California legislature for around a decade. Democrats controlled both houses of Congress from 2006 (well before the crisis began) until 2010 (after it was full-blown) – and they still control the Senate and occupy the White House, as they have done since 2008. As you may recall from elementary school civics, it is the legislature, not the executive, that controls the public fisc, to the extent that the public fisc approximates “the economy”. I admit that in the Coolidge era during the 1920s, Republicans controlled Congress. But cheer up, Rip van Winkle also felt bewildered when he awoke after several decades of slumber.

      On the other hand, it’s possible that I’m the one who is behind the times. After all, your man Barry predicted that his auspicious ascent signaled the end of the oceans’ rising and the beginning of planetary healing, even though, by his own humble admission, he is but the fourth best President ever. It should not be beyond his formidable alchemy skills to discover a way to usurp the authority of Congress and snatch the mantle of omnipotence from the Almighty so that he might “control the economy”. That ought to send a chill up your leg.

      • Ken Warner February 22, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

        Yes, you are right that the Dems ostensibly “controlled” Congress from 2006 to 2010. But have you noticed that all the Republicans have to do is mention filibuster and that stops whatever legislative process is being considered?

        And yes I think the Dems are a bunch of spineless oafs — in both the Senate and the House. Basically, our government is dysfunctional. I agree with that. Also, you’ve heard of the capability of the Chief Executive veto in both state and federal governments? That’s the final control and that’s been Republican. For a long time previously to now.

        But the idea that the Democrats single-handedly caused the economic crash at any level is just right wing nonsense.


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