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California Looks to the Ballots to Suspend State Cap and Trade Scheme
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California Looks to the Ballots to Suspend State Cap and Trade Scheme

If it's true that states are the "laboratories of democracy" California's cap and trade experiment should be considered a failed one and the federal government ought to think twice about implementing the same economy-killing measures across the nation.  The Wall Street Journal has the story of a possible ballot measure to at least temporarily repeal California's cap and trade carbon tax.

01/11/2010
Temecula Activists Stage Impromptu Cap and Tax Protest
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Temecula Activists Stage Impromptu Cap and Tax Protest

This past Saturday, June 27, a group of Temecula, CA free-market activists led by Bridget Blanton staged a spur of the moment protest against the cap and trade legislation that passed the House the previous evening.  The demonstrators urged passerby to get involved and call their Senators as the legislation progresses.  

06/29/2009
Help Stop New Tax Hikes in California
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Press Release

Help Stop New Tax Hikes in California

Just over a month ago, Californians went to the polls and delivered a resounding “No tax hikes” to their state leaders.  Legislators have had four weeks to come up with a better plan that will work for the state and guess what their solution is?More tax hikes!  Take Action and tell your lawmakers more tax hikes are unacceptable.That’s right, more tax hikes.  Except that these are different tax hikes they think the public won’t see through, regardless of the fact that it’s always the same folks who end up footing the bill.  Tax proposals now on the table include $2.2 billion in various taxes on business, a 9.9 percent tax on oil extraction, and a massive $1.50/pack cigarette tax hike.California legislators must think the taxpayers are pretty gullible to swallow this new plan.  Taxing business, just when many are fleeing the high taxes of the state, when others are bleeding jobs and struggling in the current economy is a terrible idea. Taxing oil extraction falls in the same category.  It isn’t some faceless corporation that drills for energy – it’s people who could use those jobs.  And it isn’t just some entity in the sky that absorbs those high taxes – it’s people who will have to pay at the pump.Cigarette tax hikes are a selfish cash grab that tries to put the economic woes of a state on a small, often-targeted minority.  They also hurt small businesses as people go across statelines, or to the black market and internet for cheaper cigarettes.No one would deny that California is in a bind.  But this is a problem that can’t be taxed away.  When these tax sources dry up, and if history is any guide they certainly will, legislators will simply tax something else.  Legislators were elected to do a job and that means making tough decisions, not just creating more taxes for the group that drew the short straw that day.  Spending has far outpaced growth in the state.  In good years, California’s government spent as if the revenue would never end rather than keeping spending in line with priorities. Take Action and urge your legislators not to seek quick fixes that will only push the problem down the road a short ways, but to stop playing favorites with programs and benefits and do the real cutting that needs that be done.  During hard times, every family has to cut back.  There’s no reason why governments shouldn’t do the same.

06/23/2009
Cigarettes: The San Francisco Tax
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Cigarettes: The San Francisco Tax

A few months ago, on the way to the office, I witnessed a typically DC self-defeating scene.  A man riding on a mini-street sweeper finished the block, stopped to empty the trash in the back, and tossed his cigarette on the ground on his way back to the sweeper.  I was a bit galled - and it speaks to larger problems inherent in the system - but it never occurred to me to tax the cigarettes.  I was leaning more toward "why not take one more step and throw it in the trash" or "care about your job."

06/22/2009
A Flat Debate on the Flat Tax
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A Flat Debate on the Flat Tax

In comments to the Sacramento Bee late last week, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger magnanimously agreed to consider a proposal to maybe discuss a flat tax rate on income in California. Much like similarly surprising talk of ending marijuana prohibition, the news makes for great headlines, but taxpayers should avoid any real optimism for the time being.While Schwarzenegger cleverly pays lip service to what some consider the holy grail of tax code reform, at a suggested flat rate of 15 percent, he has actually proposed a massive tax increase. Currently, even the wealthiest Californians pay “only” 9.3 percent. In the seven states where a flat tax is already in effect, the average rate is just 4.1 percent.

06/10/2009
Arnold Says Hasta la Vista to Welfare, Considers Flat Tax
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Arnold Says Hasta la Vista to Welfare, Considers Flat Tax

Governor Schwarzenegger has proposed a $500 million cut to welfare in California to help terminate the state's $5.5 billion shortfall.  On top of the cut in spending, Arnold is even considering a 15 percent flat tax.

06/08/2009
As California Goes, So Goes New York
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As California Goes, So Goes New York

... Aaaand probably the federal government.Over at the Atlantic, Megan McArdle takes on the question "Is California too big to fail?" Short answer?  Nope.

05/20/2009
California - Our Canary in a Coal Mine
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California - Our Canary in a Coal Mine

It's common knowledge that California is going broke.  So broke they're asking for TARP money, a program whose beneficiaries can't get out of fast enough.  It was bad enough when they took  my money to give to banks and companies that made bad decisions - but naysayers were explained away with words about "systemic risk" and "too big to fail."  With a GDP among the top ten in the world (were it an independent country), it's hard to see how we won't see those same platitudes trotted out again.

05/15/2009
Schwarzenegger Goes to Washington
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Schwarzenegger Goes to Washington

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is in Washington this week for the National Governors Association meetings.  During the Presidential campaign, he called Obama's economic policy European socialism and called Obama "scrawny."  Now he's praising the stimulus package that will bring California over $60 billion in federal money and saying Republicans who opposed the stimulus are not "team players."  Back in 2004 he was praising the free market in his classic "Don't be economic girlie men" speech to the Republican National Convention:

02/24/2009
Help Save California
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Press Release

Help Save California

It’s clear to anyone who believes in the free market and limited government that California is poised on a knife-edge: state legislators can do the right thing, tighten belts and declare California open for business or they can continue to tax citizens and their businesses straight out of the state.No one would deny that times are tough.  But when you can’t make ends meet, most people start making tough decisions and stop spending.  California is facing a $42 billion budget gap and some state legislators think that taxpayers should pay for the years of overspending and waste that put them there.  Currently there is a plan that calls for $14 billion in tax hikes – everything from an income tax surcharge to higher sales tax to a hike in the gas tax.  And the list grows from there. The plan also calls for $10 billion in borrowing. When you are in a hole, the first thing you should do is stop spending!People who are already hurting shouldn’t have to pay more in taxes.  The years of high taxes and complex regulations are what has driven businesses and families from California in the first place.  Rolling back those regulations and cutting taxes and spending could mean real, long term growth for the state.Luckily there are a few brave leaders in the Senate who have been willing to say enough is enough.  Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-36th) has led the charge and stood up for California taxpayers and businesses against this plan.But he needs your help.Please take a few minutes of your time to call these Senators and remind them that if they truly believe in fiscal responsibility they must oppose this budget and its massive tax hikes and borrowing.  These two Senators need to hear from you that they should not vote to raise taxes: Senator Dave Cox (R-1st)        (916) 651-4001 Senator Abel Maldonado (R-15th)    (916) 651-4051These two Senators have publicly stated that they are in favor of this boondoggle of a budget and they need to hear from you: Senator Dave Cogdill    (R-14th)    (916) 651-4014 Senator Roy Ashburn    (R-18th)    (916) 651-4018I don’t need to tell you that time is of the essence.  Please call right away.  Then forward this email to five friends and help get the word out.  We like to say that government goes to those who show up.  It is gravely important that in this fight for the future of the state of California people who believe in lower taxes, less government, and more freedom are the ones who show up.

02/18/2009

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