Read More »"/> Read More »"/>
As Chriss Street of Breitbart News reports, California Governor Jerry Brown wants a 42 percent increase in the gasoline tax and seeks to hike Californians’ vehicle registration fees by 141 percent. These tax and fee increases are not to fix the state’s terrible roads, build more water storage, which the state desperately needs, or offer Californians some new service. The reason, as Street sees it, is “the insolvency risk from the exploding cost of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) public pensions.” Investment returns of 2.75 percent in 2015, and 0.61 percent in 2016, could have the state staring down the barrel of $964.4 billion in unfunded pension debt. For taxpayers, this should define government greed: extorting more money from the people in an attempt to fix problems of the government’s own making.
Governor Brown has already championed an income-tax rate of 13.3 percent, highest in the nation, and sales taxes approaching 10 percent in some cities. The state’s high corporate tax rate of nearly 9 percent is unfriendly to business, which also faces an onerous regulatory regime. In his first go-round, Brown authorized government employee unions and bulked up government with unelected bodies such as the California Coastal Commission. Brown has never seen a bureaucracy he doesn’t like and spends freely under any conditions.
He supports the state’s $64 billion “bullet-train” project, which some call a “Browndoggle.” He wants to drill two massive water diversion tunnels at cost of some $15 billion, doubtless much more. The state already has an attorney general, but Brown wants to hire former federal Attorney General Eric Holder to fight the new administration in Washington. And if Brown doesn’t like their policies, he says the state will “launch its own damn satellites.” That sort of rhetoric got Brown tagged “Governor Moonbeam.” Governor Greed would be more accurate.