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Tony Strickland: Focusing our priorities to fix the state budget

Guest commentary

Posted: July 17, 2010 11:17 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2010 4:55 a.m.

“Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — Albert Einstein

The majority party in Sacramento is at it again. Now is the time for the Legislature to pass a budget, and what are these out-of-touch lawmakers proposing? Once again they’re proposing tax increases and bills that do nothing but hurt hard-working California families and push jobs out of the state.

With California experiencing a budget shortfall of $19.1 billion and the worst unemployment we’ve seen since the Great Depression, we need to be focused on growing the economy and creating jobs. Instead, the Democrats in Sacramento have proposed almost $5 billion in tax increases, as well as a series of “job killer” bills that will further hurt our conditions.

The Senate Democrats recently released their “economic stimulus plan” which calls for $4.9 billion in tax increases. The Democrats in Sacramento want to increase your car tax, they want to increase the property tax surcharge and they want to suspend small-business tax credits.

Californians are already taxed to the max, so how is increasing taxes going to help them? The last thing Californians need is the majority in Sacramento reaching into their pockets like they’re a personal ATM machine every time the state runs out of cash.

Not only have the Democrats in Sacramento proposed all these tax increases, they are also pushing a slew of job-killer bills. Rather than introducing bills that will create jobs and bring businesses to California, these job-killer bills instead impose more government regulation, more government oversight and more taxes on California businesses.

Job-killer bills hurt small businesses and large businesses alike and do nothing but create incentives for companies to relocate out of California.

Senate Bill 810 (D-Leno) is a prime example of job-killer legislation. If passed, SB 810 would create a government-run socialized health care system and make private health care illegal. How does the majority in Sacramento think they’re going to pay for this multi-billion dollar health care plan? Oh that’s right: they’re going to put the burden on employers in the form of higher taxes.

I opposed SB 810 when it came before me on the Senate floor and I will continue to oppose legislation like this.

A job-killer bill that my colleagues and I were successful in defeating is Senate Bill 1113 (D-Wolk). If passed, it would have driven businesses out of California by giving the Franchise Tax Board the opportunity to request a new court trial in the event it loses a tax case at the administrative level.

Small businesses in California simply cannot afford to go to court every time they have a dispute with the Franchise Tax Board. If passed, SB 1113 would have killed jobs by encouraging California companies to flee the state in favor of states with a less strict tax structure.

Year after year, the Democrats in Sacramento lose focus on what’s important when working to pass a state budget.

Raising taxes on hard-working Californians and over-regulating businesses should not be our focus. The only way out of this budget mess is by creating a better business climate to create jobs and put Californians back to work.

A budget is simply a blueprint of our priorities and our priorities should be jobs, jobs, jobs.

Tony Strickland, R-Simi Valley, is senator for California’s 19th District, which takes in part of the Santa Clarita
Valley. His column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.


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