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Lets Talk Taxes.
California, like most states, needs additional revenue to fund schools and to invest in the future.  Our  public schools are in crisis - and they are getting worse. Their decline  is a direct result of massive budget cuts imposed by the legislature and the governor in the last four years.  Total expenditure is down by over $1,000 per student. The result is  massive class size increases.  Students are often in classes too large for quality learning.  Supplementary services such as tutoring and art have been eliminated.  Over 14,000 teachers have  already been dismissed  and thousands more face lay offs .
California schools are now 47th in the nation in per pupil expenditure and 49th in class size.  Our low achievement scores on national tests reflect this severe underfunding.
Of course the economic crisis of 2007 to the present caused by bankers and  their  lobbyists  made matters worse.  The state took in some $30 billion less in taxes due to the collapse  and thus had less to send to the schools.  School budgets have been cut by some $10 billion.  
The question for the anti tax advocates  and the Chamber of Commerce,  and ultimately for California voters this fall, is can the economy prosper with a poorly educated work force. California grew and prospered from 1970- 1994 based upon a well educated work force.   The wealth that funds our current highways, parks, universities, community colleges   and jobs is based upon  past public investments.  Then, in the period between 1994-2008 over $10 billion in corporate tax cuts  were passed  making the current  economic crisis much worse.  

California suffers from a decade of disinvestment in education and in infrastructure.  Instead of continuing our state’s once proud  commitment to public education,  today   anti tax forces have imposed a Mississippi model on our children and our  schools.
 California  needs to invest in roads, bridges, telephone lines, communications systems, parks, clean energy and quality education.  These are the down payments that make prosperity possible.  Republican  opposition to any new tax ignores the undeniable  historic fact that prosperity depends upon having a viable educational system and a well functioning infrastructure.
As Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said,   "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.''  
Duane Campbell is a Professor (Emeritus)  of Bilingual/Multicultural Education at CSU-Sacramento and the author of Choosing Democracy; a practical guide to multicultural education.  4th. edition. (Allyn and Bacon, 2010) and Chair of Sacramento Democratic Socialists of America.
He blogs at www.choosingdemocracy.blogspot.com
This piece was published in Sacramento News and Review this week.
There will of course be one or two initiatives on the fall ballot. See the prior post.

Originally posted to dcampbell on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 07:13 PM PDT.

Also republished by California politics, Dream Menders, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Progressive Hippie.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A difficult issue..... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    beforedawn, peregrinus, erush1345

    NY just passed a law limiting increases in local property taxes.

    While a supporter of public education and very aware of the results of California's limits it seems that local gov and schools will spend whatever they can - pushing limits as far as possible - UNLESS there are specific limits in place.

    My local property taxes have more than tripled in less than 20 years (and here we have full valuation - not a 'capped at the price bought' valuation as in Ca.).  Our income has NOT kept p[ace and now our taxes are far more than our mortgage costs.  

    There has been an ongoing game played by the local school district - where they will cut elementary school staffing INSTEAD of limiting an ever growing administrative staff or cutting other far less necessary expenses.  

    Cutting elementary school staffing gets those parents all riled up - so the positions are reinstated - WITH an accompanying higher tax rate - and the understanding that those parents will make sure the budget gets passed.   Ironically many of the most vocal elem school parents seem to lose interest, get divorced or .... and you see little of them when their kids hit HS - when things REALLY matter.  Sorry but I'd rather have a fourth year of a language in HS than a half hour of French in 5th grade and offering AP Calc is more important than some of the 'enrichment' programs sought for elem students.

    ONLY with the passage of the NY Slaw have we seen a focus on some of the more ridiculous expenses - like an Elementary School Director of Technology (a completely unnecessary 6 figure position filled by a former principal).  In speaking out in support of placing a priority on DIRECT INSTRUCTION I was surprised to have teachers saying that I was saying what they could not - that there were too many unneeded and 'useless' administrative spots.  Indeed, we are now seeing some of those very positions eliminated.

    Sadly those in senior administrative spots in education seem to be focused on taking care of themselves and their compatriots - NOT improving education for the children in the system.  The club looks out for its members - we are seeing an acting principal being given a permanent spot despite an inability to deal with kids or teachers....  teachers from the area seem to get tenure even if godawful and facing vocal opposition to tenure from parents.

    ONLY by setting caps  (which DO have a way for voters to approve higher spending) do you see a focus on holding costs down.

    Life isn't fair but you should try to leave it fairer than you found it.

    by xrepub on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 08:15:33 PM PDT

    •  Your Mileage May Vary (4+ / 0-)

      Districts are very local and some spend very carefully and others do not.

      A director of technology type position is getting to be necessary as more and more school business is required to be done online. Grades, attendance, data analysis, all kinds of forms, all require substantial computer networks and infrastructure just for the staff, let alone that by 2014 the kids are supposed to be taking all their standardized state/federal exams on computers.

      Your district budget is a public document, and there are many ways to pressure the board and superintendent without forcing reductions in needed student services.

      In California, alas, even the most careful and student-focused districts have eliminated teacher positions and important support staff like librarians and reading specialists. This year they toyed with taking away transportation funding, even for rural districts. And still the cuts keep coming from the state.

      In our district, all the administrators except the business manager spend substantial time with students as part of their job description. Their job is to back up the teachers so the teachers can teach to their full potential. But, that is possible in part because it's a small district and the district office is adjacent to the elementary school.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:43:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is such an important issue! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Zinman, remembrance, Glen The Plumber

    Getting Californians (or anyone, for that matter) to vote to increase their own taxes is harder than rolling a boulder uphill... but hopefully it can be done, because with out messed up legislative system, we have no other way to do it

    Might I suggest that you edit the diary to include some links to the ballot initiatives (or at least to your prior post?) For those of us that want to learn more, it's nice to be able to simply click.

    Also, perhaps you have another diary written or planned on this... but what action would you recommend that Californians take prior to election day?

    "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 08:20:20 PM PDT

    •  Having just moved to CA from another state, the (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, peregrinus, Odysseus

      taxes are extremely high.  You have a high sales tax, a high income tax and real estate taxes for new real estate that is comparable.  The state spends too much money on prisons and not enough money on education.  It is a poor allocation of resources.  I personally will not vote for one more penny.

      •  see, I don't get the logic there... (5+ / 0-)

        because we spend too much on prisons... you're fine with gutting education?

        What is the most effective way to keep kids form going to prison?  Education.

        http://prospect.org/...

        http://www.miller-mccune.com/...

        Invest in education and the prison costs will decline.  

        If we continue to cut education - especially in impoverished areas, which state cuts disproportionally impact - we will make the prison problem worse!

        In the meantime, we may need to pay more taxes.  But it will be worth it in the long run.  Unless you have another way to decrease prison populations rapidly... I can't see a way around it.

        "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

        by Hopeful Skeptic on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:15:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  but an abysmally low property tax (5+ / 0-)

        i agree with you on prisons, but that's no reason to starve the state of revenue out of pique.

        •  CA is not being starved, it has the 6th highest (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus

          tax rate in the nation(only 5 states out of 50 pay higher taxes), so what the state loses in real estate taxes it makes up in other places.  Some other facts:

          California is exceptional in many ways when it comes to taxing its residents. The state has the highest statewide sales tax in the country, currently 8.25%. It also has the highest tax on gas, charging 46.6 cents per gallon. The state collects among the lowest amount of taxes from non-residents and business out of all the states.
          If we want to raise taxes, it will have to be on businesses, that is where we clearly opportunity for additional revenue, but good luck with getting corporate taxes increased.
          •  it used to be that bsns paid (4+ / 0-)

            2/3rds of property tax collected in the state and homeowners 1/3.  Now, thanks to Prop 13, it's the reverse. Corporations never change ownership, so their property values never rise.

            That's surely why sales taxes are high. We Californians want our amenities, but don't have lobbyists to work the legislature.

            Initiatives plus lobbying (buttressed by all sorts of misinformation and scare tactics) are used to reduce corporate taxes.

            Prop 13 has also resulted in a lot of tax cheating, in which people declare houses in different counties their primary residences to maintain low property tax rates outside the provisions of Prop 13. Further, there appears to be no provision for verifying whether an "inherited" house falls within the provisions of Prop 13 or whether the heir owns another house in different county, plus the inherited one. The valuation appears to be solely based on an heir's statement.

            Prison salaries are out of control as are many local government salaries and retirement plans (have heard that Berkeley city manager retired with a 250K per year pension, out of sync with those with no jobs and even more with no retirement at all. It's expensive to live here, but not expensive enough to justify a pension of that magnitude. Someone making that much ought to be able to save for him/herself. Likewise for University administrators and highly paid professionals, who ought to get a reasonable, but capped, base pension and be expected to save for their own retirement, esp. when university professors often get housing assistance as part of their pay package.

            There are multiple horror stories, particularly in police, fire, university, and perhaps city leadership, and very poor accountability on the part of electeds to ensure that proper contributions have been made all along to match employee contributions.

            All of that has to be cleaned up to have a more rational tax system. It will not be easy, if it could be done at all.

            "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

            by fhcec on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:55:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You make my point even better than I did. There (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, BusyinCA

              is plenty of money available if we close the loopholes and address the real issues which are that business no longer carry it's load.  Perhaps we should also look to a surtax on great wealth, there is certainly enough of it in this state between the Silicon Valley, Orange County and parts of Los Angeles County, the wealth is obscene.  

          •  That's not the statewide rate (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Glen The Plumber

            The base state sales tax rate is 7.25%. Some cities and counties have voted to increase the rate locally.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:47:49 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  All the population centers are well above the 7.25 (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BusyinCA

              rate.  You are speaking of rural counties not where most of the money is collected.

              •  Money in excess of 7.25 percent (0+ / 0-)

                does not go to the state; it stays in the city or county for the specific local purpose as decided by the voters of that area.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 07:17:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I understand what you are saying but taxes or (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BusyinCA

                  taxes and they bear on how much people can handle in terms of more taxes from any source.  Wages haven't really gone up in years for the poor and middle class and yet we want to add more taxes.  Can't be done and people won't vote for it.  If they want to add a wealth tax, they might have a chance to get it passed but I will tell you they added such an initiative to the ballot in WA for a small, small wealth tax and it was voted down even though it was for schools.

                  •  I appreciate that, but accuracy is important (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Hopeful Skeptic

                    California absolutely does have a high cost of living. Myself, I see taxes as less of the issue as high real estate prices which then reverberate through everything that we do. And because more raw cash is needed to cover those high prices, we get dinged harder federally than someone with an equivalent lifestyle in North Dakota (to the extent an equivalent lifestyle is possible in North Dakota).

                    It's much worse for people who come new to the state, because they pay top of the market property tax, etc.

                    Most of the cost in education is people. With real estate/rent and health insurance costs both going through the roof, people costs thus increase as well.

                    My sense of the mood in California is that a majority is willing to pay more tax to help schools. The problem is that it has to be 2/3 - not a mere majority - and they have to be convinced that they'll see the difference in classrooms. Can it be done? Yes. Will it be easy? No.

                    The raw size of the California state budget has decreased dramatically since 2008, and schools currently get around 20% less per pupil from the state than the law says they should.

                    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                    by elfling on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:59:13 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

      •  The total tax burden is right in the middle (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber, ybruti, BusyinCA

        among all states, when you compare all forms of local taxes.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:44:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I can only tell you my experience, my income (0+ / 0-)

          increased  15%, my taxes doubled when I add everything together.  People here are numb to how much you pay in taxes but at the lower and middle income level. it is extremely high.  I will not argue that you don't get much value for your money, it is incredibly poorly allocated to the real needs of the state and there are large pockets of money not being properly taxed but it it not the average CA  that needs to pay more.  He is getting hammered.  

    •  I have been gathering signatures (4+ / 0-)

      to put Our Children Our Future on the ballot this fall.

      http://www.ourchildrenourfuture2012.com

      It will also be important to turn a few state house and senate openings blue. Unfortunately there are none in my area that are on the cusp, but I hope that folks to the south are paying attention.

  •  The economy tanked. The tax base was fine (0+ / 0-)

    until then.  Get the economy going and the revenues follow.  

    Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

    by thestructureguy on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 08:20:35 PM PDT

    •  California has gained a reputation as being (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      erush1345, nextstep

      unfriendly to business. While it may be a bad rap, it does have an impact on the economy and employment because the people who make the decisions believe it. We are still the best place in the world for startups but even as the startups grow the management and top tech jobs stay here, but the manufacturing goes to other states or offshore.  

      We have a corporate tax structure that is unique to any state in the US and was fine when we were the golden state and everyone wanted to have their business here, but times have changed.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:02:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  if CA is so unfriendly, why are there so many (4+ / 0-)

        highly successful businesses here (e.g. tons of tech and growing by the month)?  And, I believe a related question... Why have CA property values been the most buffered from the housing bubble declines (outside of the poorer central valley areas,  at least)? Don't both of those argue against that idea?

        I know people say over and over that CA is business-unfriendly, but that has always seemed like an urban legend, or a GOP talking point, to me (given my observations of booming CA businesses)

         Since you seem to be speaking form experience, what stats do you base your assessment on?

        "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

        by Hopeful Skeptic on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:20:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hopeful Skeptic - it is a high tech haven (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, nextstep

          and that has a lot of carryover affects. As an example we had the Linkedin IPO last year creating hundreds of millionaires. We are about to have an IPO for Facebook and there will be hundreds of additional new millionaires created and thousands of current and former employees will be able to have a cash windfall from cashing in their stock options. Apple's growth to the highest valued company in the world has had a very big impact on the economy and housing values. My next door neighbor, a mid level Apple executive, purchased the house a year ago for cash. Google had had a big impact as well. All of these high profile successes have the biggest impact at the headquarters location where the employees with the biggest equity stakes and compensation are located. We clearly saw a dip in housing values, but they have bounced back. In the last few years there have been more sales in my neighborhood than in the 27 years I have lived in my home. However, no house has been on the market more than a month or so. There are no vacant homes and all the properties are well maintained. We have been very lucky. I am much less knowledgeable about Southern California.

          The real changes I have seen as a tech industry insider the last 27 years is that products that were invented and developed here were actually manufactured in California as well. Now they are built primarily in Asia, or neighboring business friendly states.  Few companies seem eager to manufacture products in California. We have very tough environmental and regulatory systems here, and high energy, construction and labor costs. It is difficult to be competitive with the alternatives that are available. I have certainly seen it in companies where I have had an insiders view. Once production is proven in a pilot plant, companies ship volume production out of state or offshore.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:07:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I can only speak of my personal experience in CA (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Hopeful Skeptic

          No.1 I have never had trouble finding a job, being in a technical field.

          No.2 The pay is better here and more stable.

          No.3 Its a nicer place to live.

          No.4 I work for a successful small manufacturing concern, and I know there is no way we would move away from our designers and software developers and our ability to rapidly prototype by off shoring.

          No.5 The talk about moving out has always been talk. Move out if you don't like it. We won't miss you, but you will always miss CA.

          •  heh. (0+ / 0-)
            Move out if you don't like it. We won't miss you, but you will always miss CA.
            Indeed.

            I made the mistake of leaving a few years ago... and promptly rushed back at the first opportunity.

            But, we do have a serious problem with the state budget...and schools are suffering as a result.  Those of us who love the state need to make sure that it stays a state worth loving.

            "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

            by Hopeful Skeptic on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 05:09:21 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  A major shift in California'demographics (0+ / 0-)

        In 1985 California had a population of 26 million and in 2005 it was 36 million about a 40% increase

        From the mid-1980s to 2005, California's population grew by 10 million, while Medicaid recipients soared by seven million; tax filers paying income taxes rose by just 150,000; and the prison population swelled by 115,000.
        ...
        With 12% of America's population, California has one third of the nation's welfare recipients.
        .
        Source. Stanford University Economist Michael Boskin

        A 40% increase in population with essentially no increase in income tax paying households.  California is highly unstable with this failure to grow the number of tax paying households, while having high growth in the population of households dependent on economic assistance from the state.  

        If not for Silicon Valley's high tech businesses, California would be a bad version of Greece.  

        The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

        by nextstep on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:41:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wish people would stop using Greece for (0+ / 0-)

          analogies. Greece has had major increases in taxpaying, and pays taxes at a much higher rate than a great many countries. 40% tax revenue to GDP.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 09:29:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Greece also has issues with (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            upstate NY

            corruption and is much less rich in natural and human resources than we do in California.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:01:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Paying 40% of GDP in taxes while (0+ / 0-)

            having large deficits as a share of GDP is not a sign of economic health.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:23:38 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I thought your point was that Cali. (0+ / 0-)

              has not had enough increases in revenues, and that people aren't paying enough taxes to adjust to population increases and the services they demand. That's what I thought your analogy was about.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:36:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Point was the demographics of the state have (0+ / 0-)

                made the economics of funding government unstable and getting worse. A massive decline in share of households paying income taxes while there is a massive increase in those not paying income taxes but requiring public assistance.

                The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

                by nextstep on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:56:29 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I did understand that (0+ / 0-)

                  I just thought the analogy to Greece, given that, wasn't apt. They have had high tax revenues relative to the economy. The problem has been corruption.

                  There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                  by upstate NY on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:04:08 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  California is suffering from old Prop. 13 (9+ / 0-)

    As a result of the Jarvis-Gann initiative which capped property taxes and the rate at which they may increase annually, California was suffered a steady erosion of public services and investments. Without getting off into the details, that is the nut of it all.

    The solution to California's continuing slide toward economic destitution is to repeal the provisions of old Prop. 13 as soon as we can, in whole or in parts.

    "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

    by Zinman on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 08:26:35 PM PDT

    •  Zinman - I think there is support for (6+ / 0-)

      removing commercial and industrial property from the Prop 13 caps although it will be a difficult and expensive fight. I don't think we will ever see the Prop 13 limits on residential property changed. The limits are still very popular.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 08:57:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's do what we can now (2+ / 0-)

        The arguments for removing Prop 13 caps from commercial and industrial properties are overwhelmingly persuasive to the public as well as to that part of the business community which has no grandfathered-in interests in maintaining the status quo.

        Many of the beneficiaries of old Prop 13's residential taxation provisions know in their hearts that they are receiving an unfair exemption from taxation, particularly those of us who have inherited that exemption from our parents. However, I believe this may be the last of old Prop 13's provisions to go.

        Prop 13 meddled in Legislative procedure by requiring a 2/3 vote to increase any tax. In the real world, that meant the Republican Party could block all taxes they didn't like (and that's most all of them), since they have had at least slightly more than 1/3 of the members in both the State Senate and Assembly. As a result, the State has gradually become unable to pay for those services which make the State function for the general populace as a consequence of the effect of cost inflation and the inablity of the Legislature to raise taxes to compensate.

        "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

        by Zinman on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:29:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Zinman - the 2/3rds rule had long been in effect (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          erush1345, thestructureguy

          Going back almost a century there had been a 2/3 rule if the state budget increased by more than 5% in any one year, Prop 13 just took out the 5% rule. There have been several ballot challenges to the 2/3rds rule, but I think it is still popular with voters.

          I have lived in California for more than 50 years and have followed California politics for more than 40 years. It is an interesting state with a progressive coast and a conservative central valley. While it needs more tax revenues it does have some spending issues. We have 12% of the population in the US. If you believe the Dems we have about 20% of the people on some type of monthly state assistance. If you believe the GOP we have about 30% of the people in the US on some type of monthly state assistance. Even if you believe the Dems, those ratios are not sustainable. I think that voters are reluctant to add new taxes although the tax the rich ballot initiatives will likely pass because everyone likes someone else to pay.  

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:46:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  well, I hate to be a one-trick pony in this diary, (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Zinman, fhcec, Odysseus, Glen The Plumber

            but investing in education is the solution to both the issue you raise , and the prison expense issue. People with proper educations are less likely to need state-assistance, or go to prison.

            Invest seriously in education, and you will help solve both of those things.

            "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

            by Hopeful Skeptic on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:54:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  HS - I agree (2+ / 0-)

              My father moved us to California from the east coast because he had been stationed at Ft Irwin to prepare for the invasion of Africa during WWII. He came home from the war with two memories of California, warm winters and nearly free college educations. It was a good move. I was able to work my way through two state universities with no help from my parents who were too poor to pay for college. It is a shame that our educational system has declined so drastically and the amount of money we spend on prisons is tragic.  

              "let's talk about that"

              by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:13:12 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Two people (4+ / 0-)

                I blame California's present day problems on two people. Ronald Reagan and Howard Jarvis. I've been involved in Ca. politics for 50 yrs. and trace our problems to those two. May they rot in Hell.

                If you think education is expensive, try ignorance.  

                •  jake - the rise of Reagan and Jarvis are good (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  jakedog42, Glen The Plumber, ybruti

                  examples of political arrogance and a lesson we should never forget. The Dems thought they had everything under their control in California and didn't hear legitimate concerns of the voters. The right was able to take a few unaddressed legitimate issues and exploit them. In particular Prop 13 was a completely self inflicted tragic wound that the Dems could have knocked off the trolley tracks, if they had been at all paying attention.

                  "let's talk about that"

                  by VClib on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:00:54 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  relative to other states, CA traditionally paid mo (3+ / 0-)

                more for college and university education and less for K-12. Now that we are the second to last of all the states in funding for K-12, we are competing with MS for last.

                What a shame we have become, after what our taxpaying parents did for us.

                "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

                by fhcec on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:30:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  VClib - Thank you for the history of the 2/3 rule (4+ / 0-)

            Please note however, that nothing I wrote about the 2/3 rule is contradicted by your history lesson.

            If seniority is an issue for you, I have lived in California for well over 65 years, save only for my 2 tours in the Vietnam War and a little over a year elsewhere while I supported my wife while she went to graduate school.

            The proportion of people in California who need assistance argues for reform of the inequality of wealth distribution, not for championing reluctance to pay for the consequences of that inequality.

            "11 dimensional chess" is a clever form of using magical thinking to obfuscate the obvious.

            by Zinman on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:48:45 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  among people who own homes, yeah (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Zinman, Glen The Plumber

        renters are a lot less thrilled with that aspect of prop 13, and to be honest, it benefits the old a hell of a lot more than the young, so a workable majority to repeal may emerge yet, as young people get less and less benefit from the prop.

        •  Until they go to buy a house. n/t (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          VClib

          Rick Perry is George Bush without brains.

          by thestructureguy on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:11:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  my favorite shout out on this issue... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber

          a couple years ago in a community meeting with legislators about taxes, one young many shouted that he wouldn't be able to afford a vacation every year if the taxes were to increase on the home he had inherited from his parents.

          Stunning myopia, IMHO.

          He's probably among the loudest complainers about store clerks who are not well educated.

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:33:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  the inherited tax rates are flat-out feudal n/t (0+ / 0-)
            •  I dunno wu ming... I have a perfect example (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              wu ming

              in my own family of why they were set up, I think.  

              My aunt inherited her father's (my grandfather's) house when she was nearly 60 years old, and had been recently laid off (early in the recession - in 2008).  

              Of course at that age, it was impossible for her to find a job.  She was able to borrow some against the house (to make repairs and make it livable, since it had been neglected for decades) and limped along for a few years on the money her father left her along with the house.  Then she had to start taking social security benefits at 62, so she's getting the lowest benefit level.  Despite having worked most of her life - she's now living on just over $800 per month.  The vast majority of that goes to pay the combined home loan  and property tax bill (~$600 total per month - 500 for the loan, and ~100 for prop taxes).  

              If not for the prop 13 inheritance, she'd be paying over $500/month in property taxes alone... which would of course be impossible with her small SS checks.

              Also, my grandfather lived in that house for almost 50 years, and was also living on a fairly small SS check for the last years f his life.  So the lower tax rate from prop 13 saved him from having to choose between using his life saving to pay property taxes or selling the house. And thanks to prop 13, there was actually a house for my aunt to inherit.  
              ------

              That being said... there should be a way to protect people like my aunt and my grandfather, at the same time not bankrupting the state by allowing the very wealthy (or commercial property owners!!) who don't need the tax break, to take advantage of the system.

              -----

              "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

              by Hopeful Skeptic on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:51:13 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  but it's only for people who bought the house (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Hopeful Skeptic

                decades ago. if you're poor and you didn't have the good fortune to have bought your house back in the 60s (or have your parents or grandparents buy it back in the 50s or 60s), there's no help for you.

                it creates a special class of people who get to live in houses in urban cores, generation after generation, while anyone whose family came after the 70s who doesn't have some serious money is either shunted way out to the periphery or into scarce rental property made more expensive by virtue of homeowners pushing height restrictions.

                there is an ethnic dimension to this as well, as california homeowners in 1978 were decidedly whiter and non-immigrant than the part of the CA population who didn't have houses in 1978, who have moved here since 1978 or whose parents moved here after 1978. inheriting tax rates and house valuations perpetuates that, and only lets the wealthy buy in to many cities and neighborhoods that used to be middle class.

                old working class people in other states weren't taxed out of their houses. the prop 13 claims were a red herring, a distraction.

        •  There's nothing quite like (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Odysseus, Glen The Plumber

          having a neighbor who pays 1/10 of the property taxes I do whine about how high they are.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:52:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  The biggest challenge (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber, ybruti

        we will face in repealing the toxic parts of Prop 13, while keeping the good parts, is the messaging. We have to be as good as the other side at generating memes.

        Something needs to be done. The schools are falling apart. The roads are shit; you'd think you were driving in the 3rd world. It is crazy.

        It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

        by karmsy on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 09:33:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  a recent poll showed that a tax (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glen The Plumber, karmsy

          dedicated to road repair would not pass with even a bare majority.

          I wonder why bike riders especially are not suing big time for accidents caused by broken roadways. Likewise for pedestrians... You put your life and your car's repair at risk driving around here. Some streets are in worse repair than the gravel/clay country roads I used to know as a child.

          "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

          by fhcec on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:36:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  they are popular but invite corruption. (3+ / 0-)

        4 of 10 homes on my block have their original Prop 13 valuation, but only two appear to have it legitimately, as the primary residence of a legitimate heir (by prop 13 standards). The original owners still live in one home. The surviving son of the deceased owners lives in the second of the four. The original owner of the third house lives in another county in her own house, while her adult child lives in her former Prop 13 valued house. The owner of the 4th house is the legitimate Prop 13 heir of her deceased Mother's Prop 13 valuation. However, the 4th owner already lists her house in another county as her primary residence, and under Prop 13, declaring two primary residences in different counties is not allowed.

        If that's our one block (both sides), how common is this tax avoidance practice throughout the state? How much are our schools and public services losing as a result of this kind of scam? No wonder our sales taxes are so high.

        "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

        by fhcec on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:26:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  repeal prop 13, and CA will be fine (6+ / 0-)

      that's really the whole game here. we'll probably need to dismantle it in pieces, starting with splitting the property tax rolls so that commercial property is not given the rate protections afforded to residential property (even better, preserving the frozen low rates for first residences only, and soaking landlords and vacation home owners), then repealing the 2/3 rule on taxation (this might be better to put first), and only going after the residential limits after the corporate interests have been cut out of the process.

      a majority-rule california would be a beautiful thing.

      •  we have a good chance of getting 2/3rds (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Glen The Plumber

        in both houses this election if we work hard to turn out the vote.

        I thought prop 13 only applied to first residence, and not rentals that have changed hands (which they often do in response to limits on tax shelter provisions).

        Maybe it applies to all, so long as they are not sold???

        "There's nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires." - President Obama

        by fhcec on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:40:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  okay... is it just me that finds it ironic (4+ / 0-)

    that there are no comments from the diarist in a diary whose title starts "Let's talk..."??

    I know... it's off topic, but I thought it was funny that we're all here discussing the issue and the diarist is not involved...

    "The death penalty is never about the criminal. They've already done their worst. The question is always "will we join them"?" - jlynne

    by Hopeful Skeptic on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 10:59:41 PM PDT

  •  In our county, two tax measures have passed (3+ / 0-)

    very recently.

    One was a 1/8 cent sales tax to support the library system, which was cut to the point that it was getting no money from the county general fund. Finally, we will be back to full library services.

    The other was a slightly larger tax to support a city recreational complex in one of the cities on the coast.

    If people see the benefit, they will vote for the taxes.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Thu Apr 19, 2012 at 11:54:50 PM PDT

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