‘No’ to tax plan

There’s no other way to say it: Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s blue-ribbon state Commission on the 21st Century Economy botched the job. The prestigious panel—the one that was supposed to come up with innovative new solutions to the California’s ongoing budget calamity—was appointed with the idea that it could operate outside the political process.

An independent panel could have gone where most politicians dare not go in questioning Proposition 13 and its crucial role in helping create the budget nightmare we’ve been in for decades.

But it didn’t.

It could have made a recommendation regarding the two-thirds supermajority vote requirement to enact a tax increase.

But it wouldn’t.

Instead the allegedly bipartisan committee was hijacked by conservative Republicans (nine of the commissioners signed the final recommendations) and wound up presenting a plan that would raise taxes on the middle and lower classes, widening the gap between rich and poor in California even further. Among other things, the new tax plan would cut the top income-tax rates and set in place a complicated new tax on businesses’ activity, services and consumption.

The governor said that if these recommendations came in the form of a bill on his desk, he would sign it immediately. Thankfully, the plan has to go before the Legislature first.