Blatant Abuse of Taxpayer Money Gets Needed Attention – San Bernardino Sun
As Governor Newsom watches the barrel of the pending recall, we wonder if he has given any thought to what he could have done to prevent or at least reduce the chances of being dismissed.
Probably not. By all appearances, the governor genuinely seems to believe the recall is a “Trump-inspired” attack on what he calls “California values.” Judging by its track record, the values it holds dear are high taxes, high cost of living, high poverty rate, high unemployment rate, water shortages severe enough to require compulsory rationing and regular power cuts on hot or windy days.
The reality is that anger runs deep in California and not just among the estimated 6 million residents of the state who voted for Donald Trump. A recent poll found that 54% of Hispanic voters supported the recall.
This must have shocked the governor and wreaked havoc on his campaign team’s strategy to “get the vote out”. “What if,” they must have thought, “we produce the vote and it comes out? “
Among the long list of taxpayer frustrations with this governor and, indeed, the state in general, are the huge lost opportunities for what could have been done in the year of the pandemic but was not. For example, the governor claimed what was, according to his calculations, a budget surplus of $ 70 billion. (The Legislative Analyst’s Office checked their calculations and pointed out that the surplus was only $ 35 billion, but it’s still a big number). Unfortunately, those tens of billions of dollars have been wasted.
Newsom played the role of Santa Claus, or perhaps the boss of the Chicago neighborhood, injecting new $ 600 stimulus checks into a large chunk of the population. We are generally in favor of returning excess tax funds to taxpayers, but these were not tax refunds. These were one-time payments to income-eligible individuals who, coincidentally, were to be mailed very close to the date the ballots in the recall election would be mailed. This little political stimulus absorbed $ 8 billion.
And speaking of impregnation, that’s what taxpayers have been when it comes to water storage projects. In 2014, California voters approved Proposition 1, a $ 7.5 billion bond that pre-authorized $ 2.7 billion for water storage projects that still have not been built. The California Water Commission determined eligibility for funding for seven projects in July 2018, and the paperwork is ongoing. The first installation should be operational in 2027.
Instead of using the budget surplus and his executive powers to speed up water storage projects, Gov. Newsom announced that mandatory water restrictions would arrive soon.
Gov. Newsom also invested $ 12 billion in expanding his homelessness policy, which he called a success, but which many Californians see as a disaster. A recent poll found that 60 percent of voters in the state disapprove of the governor’s handling of the homeless issue.
As noted in this journal, a recent study reveals that the two main reasons people leave the state are tax burden and regulation. There is also the general perception that California is not effectively using the tax money that is generated. This perception is correct.
An analysis released by WalletHub in March reveals something that won’t surprise many Californians. Specifically, California ranks 49th out of 50 states in terms of return on investment (return on investment) for the taxes citizens pay. It would be one thing if we got value for our taxes, but frankly speaking, we don’t. The Golden State has the highest income tax rate in America as well as the highest sales tax and gasoline tax rate in the state. And yet, with all this income, state policies on homelessness, water infrastructure, transportation and crime have been at best worthless and at worst counterproductive.
Many local governments, especially large cities, are also careless in providing good services at a fair price.
While they frequently plead poverty, claiming the pandemic has dramatically reduced income, the California State Auditor shattered that claim in a report released last week. The title is very revealing: “Fiscal Drought? In fact, the revenues are pouring in.
The report shows explosive growth in local government revenues from hotel taxes, business license taxes and sales taxes. What about property taxes? Even with Proposition 13, the auditor notes that “property tax revenues have also increased statewide. Economic forecasts indicate that California cities will receive more than $ 2.3 billion in additional property taxes between fiscal years 2019-20 and 2021-2022. “
The only bright spot is that the blatant abuse of taxpayer dollars and mismanagement is attracting the attention of the media and government watchdogs. Thanks to the recall election, voters can get there first.
Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.