When drawing a comparison to President Obama’s State of the Union Speech and California Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State speech one thing rings hollow- substance. The president spoke to the nation for approximately an hour, while Brown chose a much shorter 13 paragraphs.
“When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can’t say now is the time to block a vote of the people,” Brown told California lawmakers last night.
The country remains mired in an economic recession complete with compounding debt and stubborn unemployment. However, California’s problems are much more grave- double-digit joblessness coupled with a $25 billion deficit.
California’s newly elected Democratic Governor is pushing lawmakers to increase taxes as a solution to the Sacramento spending spree.
“My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly, I believe it would be irresponsible to exclude the people from this process,” Brown explained. “They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those in this chamber. Given the unique nature of the crisis and the serious impact our decisions will have on millions of Californians, whether it’s more cuts, extend taxes, the voters deserve to be heard.”
Californians are no strangers to voting on ballot initiatives in fact, in the past 18 months there have been two tax increases proposed and both times they went down in flames. The state is already one of the highest-taxed states in the country, many Californians cannot afford higher taxes and judging by the recent polls they aren’t likely to change their minds about handing the state more money.
The Governor has proposed $12.5 billion in budget cuts, an extension of current taxes and an historical realignment of government. This program requires a vote from residents in a special election before it could become effective, according to a statement released from Brown.
“My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly I believe it would be irresponsible for us to exclude the people from this process,” he said. “They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those of us in this chamber.”
However, the short speech was missing a key component that is strangling California economically- illegal immigration. Conservative estimates put the Golden State’s yearly costs for illegal immigration at $20 billion per year in healthcare, food stamps and other welfare programs. Yet the governor failed to utter a phrase about this very real problem.
The Republican response to the Governor’s speech was clear- no more taxes.
“The people have made it clear; they don’t want to pay higher taxes. Voters have rejected every tax increase on the last two statewide ballots. It’s time for Sacramento to finally to listen to the people,” Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway said. “Republicans stand united as the only line of defense for California taxpayers. We believe the best solution to help close our deficit is not by raising taxes, but by creating private sector jobs. That is done by lifting regulations and by reducing frivolous lawsuits. We must also rein in soaring public pension costs and make government programs run more cost-effectively.”
Other leaders in California echoed similar responses to what ails the state and how to fix its mounting deficit problems.
“Instead of raising taxes, the Governor should issue an executive order immediately freezing all new taxes, fees and regulations that hurt jobs,” said George Runner from the State Board of Equalization.
“The Governor can talk about jobs all he wants, but it’s the private sector—not the government—that actually creates jobs. And right now California’s job creators have a severe hernia from trying to lift a mountain of new taxes, fees and regulations imposed on them during this economic downturn,” he finished.
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